Cyberbullying takes place online on social media, messaging platforms, and gaming platforms.
Children are particularly vulnerable and are easy targets of cyberbullying as they have easy access to gadgets like cellphones and tablets, and have internet access. At their young age, they are also knowledgeable in digital technologies.
Globally, about 70% of young people have been victims of cyber violence, online bullying, and digital violence.
In the Philippines, the national data shows that almost half of children aged 13-17 or 3 out of 5 have experienced cyber violence. The recent study also indicates that the percentage for both males (44%) and females (43%) who experienced this is almost the same.
Look for signs of cyberbullying
Most often, a child experiencing cyberbullying is often unwilling to talk about their situation. But if you notice that your child lose interest in going to school, seems to lose weight because of lack of sleep and loss of appetite, you may want to talk to them about how they are feeling.
With the prevalence of cyberbullying happening among school-aged children, what can we do to stop this?
Young people are often advised by adults to tell the bullies off. Yes, it is ok to do this initial step of clearly and directly telling the bully how you feel like if you are hurt for his/her inappropriate words. But not all times this work. So what can you do?
- Block of the bullies online and do not respond to their messages. Bullies want to get your reaction. Sending them threatening messages will provoke their unwanted behavior.
- Keep the evidence of every post or message sent to you. This will help authorities to determine if you are being bullied.
- Seek outside help
If you are a child being bullied, always remember that you can rely on adults to help you. Talk about how you feel to stop the situation you are in. Talk to trusted adults about it either at home or in school. Remember, the problem will not go away by ignoring it.
Prevent cyberbullying with these steps:
- Avoid sharing revealing or explicit photos of yourself or any sensitive information
- Check your settings in social media. Do not share your password and make sure that you review your privacy settings.
- Be thoughtful of what you share that may hurt others. Be kind.
- Don’t spread rumors or embarrassing jokes, pictures, videos and stories
- For parents, talk to your children about cyberbullying. This will help them keep an open mind that they can trust you if this happens to them.
Republic Act No. 10627: Anti Bullying Act
In the Philippines, there is the Republic Act No. 10627 or the Anti Bullying Act. It requires all schools to adopt policies to address bullying in their respective institutions. This aims to protect the children enrolled in the kindergarten, elementary, secondary schools, and learning centers from being bullied. This includes cyberbullying or any bullying done through the use of technology or any electronic means is also bullying punishable under the law (RA 10627 Sec 2). The School’s Child Protection Committee shall serve as the body which will handle bullying cases in the school.
This law enables students to anonymously report bullying. Once the case is established, the school principal or any authorized representative can take action, which may include taking disciplinary action, and notifying the parents or guardian of both the bully and the victim about the action taken to prevent any further bullying acts. And if the school principal believes that the bullying is tantamount to a crime, this may be reported to law enforcement agencies.
We can stop cyberbullying. All crimes are punishable by existing laws. Thus, whether you are a victim or a bystander, report this cybercrime to authorities to stop cyberbullying.