Home education Dealing with the growing problem of cyberbullying

Dealing with the growing problem of cyberbullying

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With the advent of technology, bullying, and harassment can occur through email, texts, cellphones or social media websites. Be aware, says the SAPS

With the advent of technology, bullying, and harassment can occur through email, texts, cellular phones or social media websites. Be aware, says the SAPS

WITH the advent of technology, bullying, and harassment can occur through email, texts, cellphones or social media websites.

Be aware, says the SAPS which elaborated and said that steps that could be taken against cyberbullying include obtaining a protection order from a magistrate’s court against the poster under the Protection of Harassment Act.

“You do not need a lawyer to obtain a protection order. Harassment is also prohibited under the Promotion of Equality and Prevention of Unfair Discrimination Act (PEPUDA).

“You can also approach the SA Human Rights Commission (SAHRC) for assistance. You can block the person to prevent further harassment and bullying and report to the platforms,” said police.

On Human Rights Day the SAHRC launched the Social Media Charter in the Eastern Cape.

The charter sets out a guidance note for social media users explaining what is acceptable and unacceptable.

Guidance notes in it are provided for issues such as — harmful expression, defamation, privacy, crimen injuria, harassment and bullying, image-based violence, disinformation, misinformation, the safety of children, and cyberbullying.

The charter provides definitions and the steps a person can take if their rights or the rights of others are violated.

The police said that the internet and social websites are part of everyday life, but it could be dangerous and encouraged users to should ensure their safety online.

“Be smart about it, learn about and teach your children about it. Cyberbullying can occur anywhere, even at home, through email, texts, cellphones or social media websites.

“For those who suffer cyberbullying, the effects can be devastating, leaving you feeling hurt, humiliated, angry, depressed, or even suicidal.

“However, no type of bullying should ever be tolerated,” the SAPS said.

Tips for children or teens dealing with cyberbullying:

  • Do not retaliate. Responding with similar threats reinforces the bully’s behaviour. Help avoid a whole cycle of aggression.
  • Save the evidence. Online messages can usually be captured, saved and shown to someone who can help. Save evidence even if it is minor. Cyberbullying can escalate.
  • Block the bully. Use preferences or privacy tools to block the person.

Prevent cyberbullying before it starts. Teach your children to:

  • block communication with cyberbullies.
  • never post or share their personal information online, including their full name, address, telephone numbers, the school’s name, parents’ names, credit card numbers, or their friends’ personal information.
  • never share their Internet passwords with anyone, except you.
  • not put anything online that they would not want their classmates to see.
  • not send messages when they are angry or upset.

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