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I just came from a meeting this morning for a possible partnership to stage an “anti-cyber bullying bootcamp” in the Philippines [or something to that effect]. I have discussed it in an earlier post, cyber bullying in the Philippines is an unrecognized threat, thus this event, if pushes thru, can create awareness.

Since a [cyber] bully involves the [online] behavior of another person, chances are, we will encounter at least one in our lifetime. We have a saying that while  “we cannot prevent a bird from landing in our head, we can prevent it from making a nest”. Therefore, in case we crossed path with a cyber bully, we should not be powerless to deal with them.

Let us then discuss how to handle cyber bullying.

what is cyber bullying?

The right ingredients

For an anti cyber bullying program to be effective, the following must be present:

  1. Anti cyber-bullying law
  2. School’s anti-cyber bullying program
  3. Partnership with internet cafe’s
  4. Inclusion of cyber wellness into the curriculum [i.e. online GMRC and safety tips]
  5. Parents involvement on their kids online activity

I understand that Sen. Miriam Santiago passed an anti cyber bullying bill, thus, the government is moving to the right direction.

In the same manner, the schools here in the Philippines should be proactive and begin to look into cyber bullying cases, which remain undocumented. The school’s can do the following to prevent or reduce cyber bullying cases:

  1. Develop a culture of respect, openness and trusts- by inculcating the value of respect towards another human being, we are addressing the root cause of bullying- the lack of respect to others and self. Bullies are insecure and weak, and bullying is their facade. Openness and trust on the other hand, if  developed between students, teachers and the guidance counselors, students will not hesitate to discuss their problem with the class advisers and/or counselors.
  2. If cyber wellness cannot be incorporated in the curriculum, these should be included in extra curricular programs that should include not only the students, but parents and teachers too.
  3. Partnership with internet cafe’s. If the local government cannot pass an ordinance for this, the school might as well do this. Here’s what I think
    • Partner internet cafe’s have the school’s stamp of approval, thus, will recommend students who don’t have internet access at home to go this e-cafes. This will mean good business and good reputation of the internet cafe to the local community
    • In return the internet cafe’s should 1] serve only age appropriate online games, 2] provide poster size info about [a] online risks and [b] safety tips and [3] provide the parents and the school access to the internet log of students, i.e. visited sites, time spent and other activities. Though I am not a lawyer, I think kids who are still under their parents authority and jurisdiction should be able to do this without violating any law.

Parents should also be able to adopt to the changes and be relevant to their kids pop culture, to guide them properly. Please follow check “Parents role on their kids online activity” to know how you can lead and guide your kids.

How kids can protect themselves.

In international law, cyber bullying is defined as involving 2 minors. If adults are involve, this is not a case of cyber bullying. But heck, If a law is passed here with different definition, we shall be following our law. Now going back to our discussion, how can a kid protect her/himself from cyber bullying

  1. Follow the age requirement of a social networking site. If Facebook requires 13 years old, then do not lie and create an account. In this way, if someone creates a false account of you, your parents can ask Facebook or other social networking sites to shut it down. Parents do not be a bad example by lying on your kids age just to give them access to facebook.
  2. Kids should use an avatar profile pic or a “very old” pic instead of the current ones.
  3. Do not post a picture of you or your family that is publicly accessible. This can prevent others from downloading a picture of you and misuse it. Ask cousins/relatives and friends to observe this too.
  4. Do not disclose info that can track you, locate your home and school or your siblings or parents whereabouts
  5. Be respectful of others online, with your words, videos and images. Use of social media responsibly [think before you click].
  6. Refrain from using your birthday and alike as your password, to prevent hacking of your site. Your parents should know your password and no one else.
  7. Set to private all personally identifiable info, and limit your connection to people you know.
  8. Do not talk/chat  to strangers
  9. Moderately use social networking sites, these can not replace real relationships and family
  10. Do not create an account or visit sites that encourage anonymous users
  11. Talk to an adult, specially parents, teachers and counselors, if someone is making you uncomfortable online
  12. Use the anti abuse tools of a social networking site. And yes, Facebook has an anti cyber bullying tool
  13. If bullying violates a law, have an adult report the incident t0 CIDG.
    • For Cyber Crime / Computer Related Crimes
    • Dial (632) 726-1575 Criminal Investigation & Detection Group
    • Email: cidg@pnp.gov.ph Submit your complaint here at AngelNet of copy paste this url http://cidgangelnet.ph/main/?page_id=121

Note to readers:

We are trying to document cases of cyber bullying, if you know of a case, please let us know. We will handle the information in confidence and we’ll not disclose the personalities and schools involve. We are doing this to substantiate the threat and create awareness. Please send email to thedirector[at]wsph[dot]biz. Thank you.