Information, advice and support is available at:
- The Government’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre www.ceop.police.uk
- Sexting Briefing Note - Police action in response to youth produced sexual imagery
Parents can also get information and advice from www.safeguardingchildren.stoke.gov.uk
Children can contact national helplines:
- NSPCC Helpline: 0808 800 5000
- ChildLine: 0800 1111
- In an emergency you can dial 999 and ask for the police.
What is cyberbullying (Bullying online)?
Taken from The Department of Education report 'Preventing and Tackling Bullying' The rapid development of, and widespread access to, technology has provided a new medium for ‘virtual’ bullying, which can occur in or outside school. Cyber-bullying is a different form of bullying which can happen 24/7, with a potentially bigger audience, and more accessories as people forward on content at a click.' 38% of young people have been affected by cyber-bullying.
The following categories are considered as cyberbullying:
- Sending threatening or discomforting text message to a mobile phone
- Making silent, hoax or abusive call to mobile phones
- Making and sharing embarrassing images or videos via mobile phone or website
- Broadcasting unsuitable web cam footage that is threatening or manipulative
- Leaving hurtful messages on social networking sites or sending the same message to that person’s peer group
- ‘Outing’ people by publishing or disseminating confidential information online
- Stealing an online identity in order to cause trouble in that person’s name
- Deliberately excluding people from online games or groups
- Setting up hate sites or hate groups against an individual
- Sending menacing or upsetting responses in chat rooms, online games, or messenger real time’ conversations
- Voting for someone in an insulting online poll
- Sending someone ‘sexts’ that try to pressure them into sexual acts
Procedures for preventing cyberbullying
Mobile phones - All UK mobile phone providers have Call Centre’s and or procedures in place to deal with issues around bullying. You will find the relevant numbers to call from the child’s or your own mobile phone provider, generally under a section on tackling bullying and/or advice for parents. You can advise that it may be possible to get the child’s number changed via their mobile phone provider if they are being bullied. Also, if a certain type of handset is being used then it may be possible to set the phone so that it does not receive phone calls or text messages from a particular number.
Social networking sites - Social networking sites like Facebook have reporting procedures and a safety centre which contains advice for children, young people, parents and professionals. They will remove content that breaches their terms and conditions. Facebook also operates something called ‘social reporting’ this encourages people to work with others in their community to report offensive content as well as reporting it ‘officially’ through Facebook. It is important to remember that the official age for having a Facebook account is 13. However, as it stands, it is quite easy for a young person to set up an account if they are underage by giving a false date of birth.
Video and picture hosting sites - For such hosting sites including ‘YouTube’ where there are moving images or static pictures posted that are of a bullying nature you can also report them in the same way you do through social networking sites. Before you report things you may have to create an account if you don’t already have one and when you do make a report it’s important to remember that you need to flag things that are deemed inappropriate in the web sites respective policy.
Instant messaging and chat rooms - Instant messenger sites such as BBM, MSN, Facebook and Twitter are popular methods of communication for young people but can leave them open to being the victim of cyberbullying or sending messages themselves to others that could be seen to be offensive and upsetting. It’s important that if bullying has occurred in this context that all messages are recorded and archived so that if a report needs to be made or evidence needs to be saved then there is a clear record. As with other online services, reports can be made that breach the terms of service
Zipit If someone’s tries to send naked images youngsters can use the images on Zipit to keep the situation in control. Zipit helps to get flirty chat back on the right track. It's packed with killer comebacks and top tips to help teenagers stay in control of the chat game. Zipit is free to download, but if images are sent as a text with a picture (through MMS or Multimedia Message Service) there will be a charge by your mobile provider.
- Save images onto their device and share them with friends.
- Share images on Facebook, Twitter, BBM or via email.
- Find out how to deal with a sexting crisis.
- Get advice on how to flirt without failing.
- Call ChildLine or save the number to a mobile phone.
- Images can also be shared from Zipit through other apps like Whatsapp or Instagram, depending on the type of phone and what apps are downloaded.
Lucy Faithwell have created a guide for parents of children and young people who have got into trouble online. It's designed to answer some of the immediate questions you may have after learning that something is happening, or has happened, in your child's online life.