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Cyberbullying prevention: 8 keys to avoid harassment

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Violence in the school context has received increased attention in recent years and, as a result, has gained visibility in recent years.

Cyberbullying is one of the variants of violence between children and adolescents on which the focus has been lately; It is a variant of harassment through social networks, the number of cases of which has been increasing due to the rise of these digital media in the last decade.

That is why it has been of great importance to develop a plan to prevent these forms of violence suffered by multiple children and adolescents, in order to raise awareness in the population and avoid the greatest number of situations of this nature as far as possible. possible. In this article we will focus on it, through a review of the fundamental pillars of preventing cyberbullying.

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What is cyberbullying?

"Cyberbullying" and "cyberbullying" are two terms used to define a mode of violence that consists of

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harass, threaten or even try to humiliate another person, in this case being a child or adolescent, through digital media such as social networks, online video games or other types of digital media, the bully being usually a classmate from the same school as the victim.

Save the Children carried out a study in Spain in 2019, surveying 400 young people around the country, obtaining the astonishing figure that more than 75% had suffered some type of online violence throughout their childhood and 47% suffered more than one type of violence.

There are many ways to carry out cyberbullying; some of the most common are the following:

  • Doxing: consists of sharing another person's personal information over the internet without their consent.
  • Happy slapping: attacking another while being recorded with a mobile phone to spread it later.
  • Grooming: when an adult cheats on a minor in order to make videos and photographs of a sexual nature.

Bearing this in mind, in the next section we will see a prevention plan against cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying in childhood
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Cyberbullying prevention plan

When developing a cyberbullying prevention plan, it is necessary to convey to the people to whom it is directed, such as children and adolescents, its parents, as well as teachers and the rest of the members who work in the educational center where the children attend, that cyberbullying is not a joke and, so much, eIt is a form of violence that violates the rights of the youngest, so it should not be tolerated under any circumstances.

It is important to note that in Spain, after the latest advances in recent years, bullying or perhaps school in all its forms has already been recognized as a form of violence. However, further progress is still needed in this field and the use of stronger measures, as well as have more influence on prevention plans that raise awareness among the entire population and, above all, the target population (children and adolescents) in order for them to be more respectful to their peers and to stop carrying out these violent practices against others.

Here are some points to take into account in order to prevent cyberbullying.

1. Bullying among young people doesn't just happen at school

When talking about bullying, it must be borne in mind that this does not only occur in the school context, although it could be the place of origin of the attacks, since it is the main social environment in which the youngest gather.

However, with the notable growth in the use of new technologies among the youngest, new modus operandi have emerged to harass all kinds of minors inside and outside of school.

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2. The rights of the victims and also of the aggressors must be guaranteed

It is very important to bear in mind that in cases of violence between children and adolescents, both are minors. Your rights must be respected and fully guaranteed in accordance with the law.

Therefore, in any case of harassment or cyberbullying, when taking measures, this principle must be borne in mind. This means that the confidentiality of the case must be respected so as not to expose either of the minors to situations that could be harmful to both.

A way must be found to resolve the matter in a conciliatory way and always from an educational and socializing perspective so that, both the victim as well as the aggressor, who are children after all, become aware of the seriousness of the matter and learn that this should not be repeated in order to the victim does not apply it to others as a way of defending himself, nor that the aggressor assumes a role of bullying, thus perpetuating this way of behaving with others persons.

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3. When taking measures against cyberbullying and bullying, it is essential that children participate

At the time of carrying out any cyberbullying or bullying prevention measure it is very relevant that children are involved in it, because it is a way to get an effective response on their part.

In this way, they are more likely to feel responsible regarding the measures taken against bullying, since they have the capacity for empathy that allows them to support those who are suffering violence and, therefore, seek their protection by requesting help.

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4. The population and especially children must be taught what cyberbullying is

Families, as well as teachers and many professionals, they still do not have all the knowledge or adequate means to identify when they are facing a case of cyberbullyingLike many children, they are not aware of suffering a situation like this, so they come to normalize it.

For this reason, it is vital to develop training plans that teach and sensitize, both adults and children, regarding what the cyberbullying, what are the forms in which it is usually carried out and what are the signs that would allow us to detect that a child is suffering from this harassment mode.

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5. Cyberbullying can cause a lot of damage in a short time

Cyberbullying is a form of violence of special relevance because today's young people already They are “digital natives”, which means that they have grown up surrounded by technological devices, so that the vast majority of the members of this generation are hyperconnected to the networks.

This means that new forms of harassment such as cyberbullying have emerged, taking special relevance since there is greater difficulty in detecting the aggressor because there is not always a direct face-to-face contact with the victim. In addition, harassment can be carried out with an alias that makes it difficult to identify; in this way it is easier for bullying to continue over time.

Secondly, the audience that witnesses said act of violence can be amplified uncontrollably given the high speed at which messages and publications can be transmitted through social networks. For this reason, it is important to monitor the access of minors to these platforms with great potential for viralization.

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6. Educate children in the use of digital resources responsibly

Given the special gravity of cyberbullying for the aforementioned, the youngest must be educated in the correct and respectful use of new technologies.

For it Campaigns have been carried out online, available to any user, that promote an education that is based on respect for diversity and human rights, as well as others aimed at responsible digital education for the population.

7. Detect cyberbullying quickly in cases where the prevention plan has not worked

It is crucial to detect a case of cyberbullying as soon as possible since the consequences will be more serious the longer it lasts. Although it is true that it is very difficult to detect such a case since, although it could occur between schoolmates, this mode of harassment can be carried out after hours school without the presence of teachers, children must be provided with resources, such as online portals, so that they can ask for help in a way that respects their anonymity and measures are taken as soon as possible. before.

It must be borne in mind that in cases of cyberbullying, the law of silence can be given, which consists in that witnesses do not dare to ask for help due to the fear that they may agree to suffer reprisals from the aggressor or for being marginalized by being considered as sneak.

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8. Provide teaching centers with professionals who are qualified in strategies against cyberbullying

Schools must have expert professionals capable of providing training resources detection of cyberbullying to be able to stop it as soon as possible and that cases do not happen again So.

In these cases the figure of a psychologist is useful in the centers you have the knowledge to detect and combat data chaos.

It is also important that educational centers have protocols for action in these cases that are clear, that reach all (teachers, students and parents), who are well coordinated among all members and involve children in their participation.

Signs that a child who is being bullied may present

First of all, a very frequent red flag among young people who are being bullied is a notable drop in their academic performance.

Another very frequent sign is when they emphatically and repeatedly refuse to participate in school and extracurricular activities; being more striking if long ago they used to be very participatory.

Both physical and psychological symptoms can also occur, such as low mood, lack of motivation to do activities that you used to do frequently before, eating more or, conversely, less than what they used to eat regularly, difficulty sleeping, complaints of headache and / or stomach pain, etc.

Cyberbullying prevention tips for children and adolescents for

It is essential that children and adolescents learn the limits between making a joke on a partner without no malice and when those red lines have been crossed, becoming a form of harassment and violence. Must stop normalizing that old habit of playing certain jokes using methods that can turn out to be excessive and violent.

It is striking that in the research carried out in this regard by Save de Children, when some children were asked the cause of their aggression against other classmates, they did not know how to explain the reason. That is why carrying out an effective prevention plan among the youngest, teaching them a more respectful way of relating to their peers, turns out to be one of the most effective ways to prevent and combat the different ways in which bullying can be perpetrated.

When making a cyberbullying prevention plan, as in any other way of harassment with children, you must work from basic psychological elements such as empathy, the assertiveness, a critical thinking mode and the assessment of the effects that may occur as a result of their behaviors.

There are also a number of basic guidelines for the youngest that can help them in the prevention of cyberbullying:

  • If they are being harassed through social networks, it is advisable not to enter the game by answering the aggressor.
  • When they are being harassed online, it is essential to take screenshots in order to have demonstrable evidence.
  • Personal data should never be provided over the network.
  • Do not behave in the networks as you would not behave in real life.
  • In case of serious threats, it is very important to seek help urgently.
  • If they suffer cyberbullying or any type of harassment, there are a series of websites and contact numbers to ask for help (they vary by region).
  • You should never hesitate when asking for help, it is essential to tackle the problem as soon as possible.
  • If they are being harassed through a forum or a social network, they can report their case to the manager of the page.
  • Children should know that by harassing others through the network they are committing a very serious crime.

Psychologist Gemma Segado Dormouse

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