The use of mobile and internet connected technologies are a part of everyday life. Young people and adults are online, exchanging information, sharing links, and creating and uploading their own content. Technology can be a powerful, positive tool, in all areas of life, including education and learning and enables us to do many things that would not otherwise be possible.
At Senacre Wood Primary, we recognise that technology does not cause people to behave badly –however, some people use technology to carry out harmful actions, including cyberbullying. It is important for school communities, to understand what cyberbullying is – in order to effectively prevent and address harmful behaviour, and promote positive and constructive uses of technology.
Cyberbullying, or online bullying, can be defined as the use of technologies by an individual, or by a group of people, to deliberately and repeatedly upset someone else. Cyberbullying is a method of bullying and should be viewed and treated the same as "real world" bullying and can happen to any member of the school community.
Key Advice for Children
When using the internet:
- Always respect others on and offline - think about what you say online and what images you send/post; be aware that online messages can easily be misunderstood.
- Remember that anything you publish online can be made public very quickly and you will never be sure who may have seen it.
- Treat your password like a toothbrush; never share it with anyone and only give your personal information like mobile phone number or email address to trusted friends.
- Be careful to log out of sites and apps if you share your device with others.
If you are being bullied online:
- Learn how to block or report online bullies or anyone behaving badly and don't retaliate or reply to nasty messages! Remember that if you reply with a nasty or unkind comment then it could get you into trouble too.
- Always make sure that you save evidence of cyberbullying by saving or printing out text messages, online conversation and pictures. Try and include as much information as possible, such as web addresses (URLs), contact numbers, user names, times, dates, locations.
- Always make sure you tell someone if you are being bullied online:
- an adult you trust
- The website, app or mobile phone provider where the bullying is taking place
- If a crime has been committed or someone is at risk of harm, contact the police
Also remember that if you see cyberbullying going on, then support the person and REPORT it to the website or your school,. Don't be a bystander and say nothing, otherwise you become part of the problem.
Key Advice for Parents and Carers
- Talk to your child and understand how they are using the internet and their phone.
- Communication with your child is essential. Talk to them and reassure them that they can always come to you if something upsets or worries them online.
- Use safety tools and parental controls - if you're not sure how, contact your service provider but please note that these tools are not always 100% effective.
- Be alert to your child being upset after using the internet/phones.
- Model positive online behaviour for your child. It's important that they know how to act safely and responsibly online and are aware of what content is acceptable and unacceptable to post or share.
If your child is being bullied online:
- If your child is a victim of cyberbullying, remember, it's not their fault so removing the technology or banning them from websites could make them less likely to speak to you in the future if they experience a problem.
- Remind your child not to retaliate to any cyberbullying.
- Save the evidence wherever possible. You may be able to report what has happened to the online service being used when the incident occurred. Evidence may include screen shots taken on a laptop or mobile device, emails, texts or online conversation histories. If you do need to make a report, evidence gathered will make it easier to show exactly what has taken place.
- Report cyberbullying immediately:
- Contact the service provider (e.g. the website, gaming site or mobile phone company) to report the user and if possible to remove the content
- If the bullying is being perpetrated by other pupils then contact the school so they can take action in accordance with their anti-bullying and behaviour policies.
- If the bullying is serious and a potential criminal offence has been committed then consider contacting the police