“1 in 10 kids have been cyber-bullied.”
“Children who were bullied were up to nine times more likely to have suicidal thoughts.”
“Children who were frequently cyber bullied by their peers were more likely to develop psychotic symptoms in their early adolescence.”
“Young people who bully have a one in four chance of having a criminal record by the age of 30.”
These eye-opening statistics are the result of extensive research which has been carried out by the Murdoch Childrens Research Institute (Murdoch Childrens Research Institute, 2012).
It is undeniable that the development of technology has enhanced the learning experience for students all over the world. However, this continual development has also meant that bullies no longer are limited to the confines of the school grounds. From the moment a child wakes up till the moment they go to sleep, they can be bullied through mediums of communication, such as telephone calls, text messages, emails, and Facebook (Robinson, 2012).
It is important for children to grow up in an environment which promotes a positive overall wellbeing, in order to ensure they grow to reach their full potential. Cyber- bullying in particular takes a major toll on a child’s psychological wellbeing, often leaving them marginalised with a low self-esteem. Unfortunately, this low self- esteem is likely to cause major issues, such as depression and anxiety which will affect them for the long-term if the issue is not addressed (Price & Dalgleish, 2010).
Children as young as five years old own technologies, such as mobile phones and ipads and while there are clear advantages to allowing children to have access to these devices, it is essential that they are taught the responsibilities and dangers which come with owning such gadgets. In order to do this, teachers and parents must they themselves be equipped with the knowledge that will assist them to offer them advice concerning how to prevent and control bullying. This significant role ensures all students are safe when using technology (Robinson, 2012). These pictures demonstrate the devastating effects cyberbullying has on a developing child.
Children should always be encouraged to speak up when an issue occurs, since teachers and parents are often ‘left in the dark’ when their child or a student in their class is being bullied. There are a variety of services, such as Cybersmart, which offer online counselling and provide a number of videos and quizzes, which will teach children how to be ‘cyber safe’ (Australian Government, 2013). Below is an example of one such quiz:
Australian Government. (2013). Cybersmart. Retrieved from http://www.cybersmart.gov.au/
Murdoch Childrens Research Institute. (2012). Healthier kids, healthier future. Retrieved from http://www.mcri.edu.au/about-us/
Price, M. & Dalgleish, J. (2010). Cyberbullying: Experiences, impacts and coping strategies as described by Australian young people. Retrieved from http://www.boystown.com.au/downloads/rep/BT-Article-Cyberbullying.pdf
Robinson, E. (2012). Parental involvement in preventing and responding to cyberbullying. Retrieved from http://www.aifs.gov.au/cfca/pubs/papers/a141868/cfca04.pdf