Safety with E24|7: Bullying – from school to smartphone

Children should be taught how to act responsibly within online community

Online bullying or the so-called cyber bullying can be more concerning than bullying that happens face to face, stated Kapersky Lab.

The IT security specialist recently conducted a research with B2B International, concluding that nearly a quarter (22 per cent) of parents were unaware of online social activity of their children, while nearly half (48 per cent) worried their kids may be victim of cyber bullying.

Cyber bullying in some aspects may be more concerning than face-to-face bullying for several reasons, it said. "As cyber bullying can remain faceless in an anonymous online setting it is harder to establish bullies' identities and to prove who is ultimately responsible. This also means that bullies are less connected to the damage they cause."

In fact, schools and parents say they find it difficult to intercept online bullying - be it on the receiving end or that of the actor, as children often do not speak up and parents are unaware of their online activity.

Online bullying can be unseen for a long period of time and do considerable damage, researchers point out and add that children are contactable anytime, anywhere due to the large variety of devices available. Be it computer, tablet, or smartphone, children are likely to check their online accounts several times a day, thus being exposed to possible bullying all the time.

As a consequence of the same dynamic, information about these children is readily available. Children upload pictures, videos or personal information on all sorts of accounts, and these information are out there for everyone, forever, Kapersky Lab noted.

Children should be taught how to act responsibly within the online community, said the UAE-based non-profit organization Beat the Bully.

"Children and young people are increasingly confident with technology but not yet emotionally equipped with negative consequences in a public environment."

"Children are vulnerable. When subjected to ongoing bullying, they can develop a whole range of emotional and physical concerns, which can have an adverse effect on their health and academic performance.

"Whether online or offline, parents should keep track of their children's behaviour and activities
In order to protect them from possible harassment, since it can have damaging and long-term effects," said Samineh I. Shaheem,  Director of Learning and Development and Founder of Bolt Down on Bullying Campaign.

In Dubai, concerned parents are addressed by the Beat the Cyber bully initiative, which organises lectures on the latest social media technologies in an attempt to stay up to date with their children's social life.

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