Peer Support: Cybersafety

Over the next two peer support sessions Year 9 students and Year 13 leaders will have the opportunity to learn some tips to help keep them safe online.

Our guidance counsellor, Mrs Bloxham, Mr Hynds, our TIC Digital Technology, Craig Marshall (Women's Refuge) , Tanya Grant (Balclutha Police)  will run some sessions of guidance for students. 

The following tips related to cyberbullying come from the bullying free nz website, a handy resource for parents. 

What is bullying?

  • Bullying is deliberate - harming another person intentionally
  • Bullying involves a misuse of power in a relationship
  • Bullying is usually not a one-off - it is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated over time
  • Bullying involves behaviour that can cause harm - it is not a normal part of growing up.

Bullying can happen anywhere, in person or online (cyberbullying), at any time, and can be verbal, physical or social (relational). It can be obvious or hidden.

How do I deal with online (cyber) bullying? 

Online bullying is bullying that takes place using electronic technology to transfer, send, post, publish or distribute content with the intention to harm a person or a group. Electronic technology includes devices and equipment such as mobile phones, computers and tablets, as well as communication tools including social media sites, text messages, chat and websites. 

Single incidents or random inappropriate actions are not bullying. If your child has been cyber-bullied, you should keep all evidence. Save bullying messages and images — these are useful if you report the bullying to the school or the police. If the cyber-bullying involves physical threats and you are worried about your child’s safety, contact the police immediately. Each case of online bullying is different and each child will respond differently. There’s no definite way to tell if your child is being bullied online, but if you think they might be, try asking them about it in a non-confrontational way. 

Examples of online bullying include: 

  • Sending abusive or threatening text or email messages. 
  • Spreading rumours via email or posted on social networking sites. 
  • Posting unkind messages or inappropriate images. 
  • Sharing someone’s personal or embarrassing information online. 
  • Imitating others online: 
  • someone stealing your child’s passwords or getting into their accounts and changing the information there; 
  • someone setting up fake profiles pretending to be your child, or posting messages or status updates from their accounts. 
  • Excluding others online: 
  • someone trying to stop your child from communicating with others. 

Online bullying is different to bullying in person in the following ways: 

  • A lot of people can view or take part in it. Messages and images can be distributed quickly to a very wide audience 
  • for example, rumours and images can be posted on public forums or sent to many people at once. 
  • It’s often done in secret with the bully hiding who they are by creating false profiles or names, or sending anonymous messages
  •  It can be persistent and difficult to escape 
  • It can happen any time of the day or night. 
  •  It’s difficult to remove as it’s shared online so it can be recorded and saved in different places. 
  •  It’s hard for the person being bullied to escape if they use technology often. Research suggests that many students who are bullied online are also bullied in person. If your child reports online bullying, it’s important to check further to get the full picture  

Tips if your child is being bullied online:

  1.  Don’t take away their technology. Taking away your child’s laptop or mobile phone can separate them from their peers and their support network. 
  2. Stay calm. Your child needs to be able to talk to you and know that you’ll be calm and helpful. 
  3.  Evaluate the situation. It’s important to know exactly what’s going on before you can work out what to do next. Is it just a few thoughtless remarks, or is it something more serious? 
  4. Understand how your child is being affected. Every child is different, and behaviour that deeply affects one child may be water off a duck’s back to another. If your child is upset about a situation, let them know that you understand and it’s okay to be upset. 
  5. Teach your child how to use the features available on most social networking sites. For example, blocking and ‘unfriending’ people, and updating privacy settings. 
  6. Work through a plan together. If your child is experiencing online bullying, you can contact Netsafe for help and advice no matter what your situation is. Netsafe’s service is free and confidential. To report an online incident or to get advice, contact Netsafe by: - calling toll-free on 0508 NETSAFE (0508 638 723) - completing an online contact form - emailing [email protected] Netsafe’s contact centre is available to help from 8am-8pm, Monday to Friday and 9am-5pm on weekends.

For  further advice and guidance please get in touch with a trusted adult at school, your child's mentor, dean or a member of the senior leadership team.


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