Watch out: Kids are just one click away from getting bullied

Picture used for illustrative purposes alone
Describing cyber bullying as a "virus that is spreading through the online space", Cummings said there are more and more cases of cyber bullying happening. And the key to stamping it out is education.

Dubai - Describing cyber bullying as a "virus that is spreading through the online space", Cummings said there are more and more cases of cyber bullying happening. And the key to stamping it out is education.



By Kelly Clarke

Published: Mon 17 Oct 2016, 12:30 AM

Last updated: Tue 18 Oct 2016, 11:53 AM

When we think of the word bullying, more often than not, we picture heads being flushed down toilets, or the big kids picking on the smaller ones.
But in today's digitally-connected world, the most prevalent type of bullying is cyber bullying, for the simple reason that this is where children are spending the bulk of their time when they are not in school.
Barry Lee Cummings is the chief awareness officer of Beat The Cyber Bully (BTCB) - an awareness, education and training platform on cyber bullying prevention.
There are many types of cyber bullying, but Cummings told Khaleej Times there is one which stands out. "The most common scenario is called 'outing'. That is when someone, usually considered a friend, decides to share information that was shared with them in confidence."
And when it is shared with the entire class, or year or specific group online, the bullying starts.
In his experience, the most common feedback from victims of cyber bullying is that they do not know who to turn to when they start to go through the experience. "Many young people especially are painfully aware that mum, dad, teachers and counsellors in many cases are so far behind the curve in understanding the online space and the preferred channels of communication that they can't possibly help them." He said many of them feel ashamed to admit they are being bullied, so that rules out their peer group and potentially siblings as well.
And this element remains is the biggest challenge to overcome today. "No young person should feel they have to suffer alone," he said.
Describing cyber bullying as a "virus that is spreading through the online space", Cummings said there are more and more cases of cyber bullying happening. And the key to stamping it out is education.
"Bullying and cyber bullying in particular can only be monitored better in schools if we increase our overall education and awareness levels around subject matter."
kelly@khaleejtimes.com


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