Social media giant, Facebook has only recently announced their plan to tackle cyber-bullying with a £1million package which would be sufficient for every school in the UK to have a ‘digital safety ambassador’ to protect children from a new form of bullying. Facebook has asserted how important it is to counter cyber bullying, and using social media is the first step to abolishing it.

Karen Bradley, the Culture secretary also decided to propose a levy on social media companies which would help them pay for such measures of protection to ensure children are not subject to harm. Bullying can happen at any time or anywhere, whether it be in person or online and, using social networks and games or mobile phones, is the latest unfortunate epidemic that is taking over what we know as bullying. There is unfortunately no escaping cyber bullying and unfortunately it becomes extremely difficult to control as you cannot necessarily trace the perpetrator.

The new plans proposed by Facebook will fund the Diana Award and Childnet International to provide online and classroom training which helps teenagers of all ages to cope with cyber bullying and how to tackle it. Facebook wants to show that it is taking internet safety is extremely seriously and will not tolerate the impact upon millions of children.

New research has shown that more than half would rather deal with bullying online, instead of going to an adult about the problem. The figures also identified that children are more likely to speak to their friends for advice over anyone else. And as Facebook gears up to protect its young from cyber bullying, children charity NSPCC has commented:

‘It is absolutely vital that Facebook and the internet industry work to ensure that their platforms are safe environments for young people to use. We want to see a strong set of minimum standards that all social media companies must follow including grooming and bullying alerts, an army of child safety moderators, clear community guidelines and greater transparency about how and what they are doing to keep children safe online.’

Interestingly, despite Facebook’s attempts to now protect teenagers from the threat of cyber bullying, Facebook allows anyone aged 13 and over to register and account with Facebook and Instagram. Yet, unsurprisingly due to such a young demographic getting involved in the use of social media, up to one in four children have experienced online bullying – suggested by the UK Council for Child Internet Safety.

So with all the measures in place to hopefully eliminate or reduce the number of cyber bullying cases, there are some do’s and don’ts which you can take into your own hands to effectively deal with being bullied online.

Things you should do:

  • Talk to someone you know and trust. Maybe it isn’t your parent, so if it’s not, you may find solace in your teacher, friend or family friend – someone from outside of the home
  • Report the bullying to the ISP which is the Internet Service provider – if you need help then ask someone who can sit you down and go through the form.
  • Phone ChildLine and speak to someone confidentially – their team of experts will give you all the information and advice that will help ease the issue and perhaps deal with it entirely.
  • You can report the mobile number of the person who is bullying you to your network provider – they can block the number or change your number if you’re bring repeatedly bullied over phone.
  • If you’re being bullied to extremes, make sure you report it to the police.

Are there any ways to prevent or lessen your chance of being cyber bullied?

Yes – there are always things you can do to help avoid being bullied over the internet and or phone.

  • Think carefully about what photos and videos you post online – to you it may be funny or emotional or engaging, but to others it may make you look vulnerable
  • Only give your mobile number and email address to people you know and can vouch for.
  • Don’t give friends access to your accounts for any social media platforms, email or subscription services.
  • Use privacy settings on social media platforms, so you can monitor who can see your posts.
  • Use mail filters to block emails from unknown email addresses
  • Know that there is always help to report any cyber bullying cases
  • Don’t forward nasty emails onto other people

And if you are being bullied online and looking for help, here are three ways in which to get in touch with the professionals.

Chatdanger – contains safety advice for mobiles, chatrooms, email, instant messaging and online games.

Digizen – Focuses on the use of the internet and its section on cyber bullying has a short film called ‘Let’s fight it together’, illustrating how a boy has dealt with being bullied online.

Anti-bullying ambassadors – These ambassadors offer useful tips on how to stay safe online, including how to report it abuse to the social media platform or website being used.