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Cyberbullying – How do we fight this?

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Cyberbullying – How do we fight this?


Listening to Massive Metro this morning, i bumped into an exciting topic which really caught my attention. We live in a world where young people and even adults are constantly exposed to dangerous content and people that use electronic communication to send messages of an intimidating and threatening nature. Many of us are not aware of the extent this can have a bearing on young people especially and it is very much advised to keep abreast of the ways cyber bullies creep onto our space and how we can protect each other from such.

In order to fight cyberbullying effectively we need to change the culture in which it happens, starting with helping kids understand that what may seem like “just a joke” can have a powerful effect on someone else. It’s also important to teach them that cyberbullying may be less common than they think it is: kids and teens often overestimate how common bullying actually is, even though most say that their own online experiences are positive.

The first step to fighting anything is to understand what you have to be aware of when in that space. Below are 4 things ways we can take as a first level of protection against cyberbullying:

Here are four tips for teens on how to prevent cyberbullying.

Keep your passwords safe

Not all cyberbullying takes the form of bullies sending messages and harassing others online by contacting them in public or private. Cyberbullying can also include bullies logging in to emails or social accounts and impersonating the user. They could post inappropriate photos.

Don’t respond to unwanted messages

Whether the messages are angry, insulting, rude or sexual, don’t respond. Keep a record of the messages and screenshot them if necessary, especially if someone is harassing you, but don’t stoke the fire. If you must say something, keep it to a polite request for them to stop contacting you, and then say no more. Not only will you often regret saying something when you are angry, upset or scared, but you want to avoid egging the bullies on or escalating the situation.

Only post PG-friendly photos

Unfortunately, posting photos that are sexual in nature, very revealing or even overly violent or upsetting is a sure-fire way to attract negative attention. Respect the opinions of others and don’t post a photo of something that you wouldn’t wear or share at a family dinner. The place for controversial discussions or pictures is via private messages, if you wish to avoid attracting nasty comments, arguments or insults

Don’t believe everything you read

Just because that mystery friend request seems to be from another 16-year-old, doesn’t actually mean that it is. And just because they’ve told you that they won’t share those pictures you send them, doesn’t mean they won’t. Always exercise caution and remember, it’s better to be too safe than sorry.

There are quite a number of IT based tools that can help us fight cyberbullying. Below are a few softwares that we can use to monitor internet usage and block certain content from being accesible from our devices.

YouDiligence:  Parents can’t always be there firsthand to stop cyberbullying, but that doesn’t mean they can’t track instances of cyberbullying to help prevent future occurrences. YouDiligence allows parents to monitor their child’s social networking pages while specifically tracking keywords related to bullying, racial slurs, alcohol, profanity and more. With a list of more than 500 “alert” words and phrases that parents can edit based on their specifications, YouDiligence can email alerts to parents when any questionable activity occurs. These updates can then be emailed to parents and viewed via the online dashboard for easy tracking.

Net Nanny (Mobile App and Software): Notification monitors send alerts when alarming keywords are used. The best part: You program those words in advance. There is time control, to limit when and for how long kids can access the internet, plus a setup assistant that allows parents to determine which online sites are appropriate by the child’s age. A mobile app version is also available for Android phones only.

My Mobile Watchdog (Mobile and Web App): Get alerts on your mobile phone and computer that include updates about questionable texts, photos, videos, and unauthorized phone numbers. Parents can work with their child to create a master contact list for his mobile phone, but only parents can add or make changes.

Safe Eyes Mobile (Mobile App): Control your child’s Internet usage while she’s on the iPhone by blocking questionable sites. This app has YouTube filtering and media player blocking. You can also customize it by choosing from 35 different categories (e.g., nudity, profanity, etc.) to block or allow content.

Are you a parent and need assistance with monitoring your child’s activity on the internet? Do you need to know more ways you can protect your child while they are online? You can email us on cybersecure@infinittech.co.za or call us on 010 534 6469 and we will assist.

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