Cyberbullying may be defined as ‘the use of electronic communication, particularly mobile phones and the internet, to bully a person, typically by sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature: children may be reluctant to admit to being the victims of cyberbullying’. It can take a number of different forms: threats and intimidation, harassment or ‘cyber-stalking’ (e.g. repeatedly sending unwanted texts or instant messages), sexting (e.g sending and receiving sexually explicit messages, primarily between mobile phones) vilification/defamation, exclusion/peer rejection, impersonation, unauthorised publication of private information/images and ‘trolling’ (abusing the internet to provoke or offend others online).
It can be an extension of face-to-face bullying, with technology providing the bully with another route to harass their target.
However it differs from other forms of bullying in several significant ways:
• by facilitating a far more extreme invasion of personal space. Cyberbullying can take place at any time and intrude into spaces that have previously been regarded as safe and personal.
• the potential for anonymity on the part of the bully. This can be extremely distressing for the victim
• the potential for the bully to play very rapidly to a larger audience so the scale and scope of cyberbullying can be greater than for other forms of bullying.
• through the knowledge that the data is in the world-wide domain, disproportionately amplifying the negative effect on the victim, even though the bully may feel his / her actual actions had been no worse than conventional forms of bullying
• the difficulty in controlling electronically circulated messages as more people get drawn in as accessories. By passing on a humiliating picture or message a bystander becomes an accessory to the bullying.
• the profile of the bully and target can be different to other forms of bullying as cyberbullying can take place between peers and across generations. Teachers can be victims and age and size are not important.
• many cyberbullying incidents can themselves act as evidence so it is important the victim saves the information.
At Gatehouse through our Jigsaw PSHE programme and through internet safety lesson we discuss cyberbulling in detail - especially in upper KS2. Where the use of social media is more prevaliant and any issues reported to us will be investigated and will follow our safeguarding procedures.
Guidance for Pupils
If you believe you or someone else is the victim of cyber-bullying, you must speak to an adult as soon as possible. This person could be a parent/guardian, or a member of staff.
Try to follow the steps below -
Do not answer abusive messages but save them and report them
Do not delete anything until it has been shown to your parents/carers or a member of staff at school (even if it is upsetting, the material is important evidence which may need to be used later as proof of cyber-bullying)
Do not give out personal details or contact information without the permission of a parent/guardian (personal data)
Be careful who you allow to become a friend online and think about what information you want them to see.
Protect your password. Do not share it with anyone else and change it regularly
Always log off from the computer when you have finished or if you leave the computer for any reason.
Always put the privacy filters on to the sites you use. If you are not sure how to do this, ask a teacher or your parents. Never reply to abusive e-mails
Never reply to someone you do not know
Always stay in public areas in chat rooms
The school will deal with cyberbullying in the same way as other bullying. Do not think that because it is online it is different to other forms of bullying.
The school will deal with inappropriate use of technology in the same way as other types of inappropriate behaviour and sanctions will be given in line with the school’s Behaviour Policy.
Guidance for Parents/Carers
It is vital that parents/carers and the school work together to ensure that all pupils are aware of the serious consequences of getting involved in anything that might be seen to be cyber-bullying.
Parents/carers must play their role and take responsibility for monitoring their child’s online life.
Parents/carers can help by making sure their child understands the school’s policy and, above all, how seriously the school takes incidents of cyber-bullying.
Parents/carers should also explain to their children legal issues relating to cyber-bullying. If parents/carers believe their child is the victim of cyber-bullying, they should save the offending material (if need be by saving the offensive text on their computer or on their child’s mobile phone) and make sure they have all relevant information before deleting anything.
Parents/carers should contact the school as soon as possible. Please contact
Several sites offer helpful advice to parents/carers, particularly with respect to how they can best monitor their child’s use of the computer at home.
Below are some links to website for support if you your child might be the victim of cyber bullying or if you are experiencing problems with other people online.
https://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/ (For Pupils)