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In this post, I will discuss a potential future big problem in PH, specially among kids who have access to the wild wild web at home and school. It’s only a matter of time before this will hit our local headlines.

One of the main causes of teen suicide in the west is “cyberbullying”, thus, it is only proper for private schools and parents orgs to take proactive steps now to address the issue before it becomes a full blown problem. Though this problem is rampant, in countries with high internet penetration rate, it does not mean the Philippines is exempted. Cyberbullying in PH maybe “milder” in form, under reported and concentrated to the middle to upper class, but still, the problem exist.

foto courtesy of Jesthings Blog

What is Cyber bullying?

According to Stop Cyberbullying website, cyberbullying occurs when a child, tween or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed  targeted by another child, tween or teen using the web  or mobile phones . The parties involve should both be minor,  or at least have been instigated by a minor against another minor. When an adult is involve it is no longer cyberbullying but cyber-harassment or cyberstalking

What cyber bullies do

According to  iSafe, cyberbullying activity are as follows:

  • A threatening e-mail
  • Nasty instant messaging session
  • Repeated notes sent to the cell phone
  • A website set up to mock others
  • ‘Borrowing’ someone’s screen name and pretending to be them while posting a message.
  • Forwarding supposedly private messages, pictures, or video to others.

Allow me to add another one: use of social networking site to carry out the attack

How to Handle Cyber bullying

Allow me to share with you what the respective stakeholders should contribute to face this problem.

  1. School’s Role
    • Clear policy on cyberbullying
    • Parents-Teacher-School Council on Bullying [Cyber and Physical]
    • Education program for parents-teachers-students on
      • Emerging trends on Social Web
      • Dangers and Risks
      • Online GMRC and Safety tips
      • Proactive use of social Web
    • Counselling for the victim
  2. Parent’s Role
    • Be knowledegable. Prevention is better.
    • Be involve on the online activities of your kid [your kid maybe the bully and not the victim]
      • Regulate use of the computer
      • Use the built in parental control or use free online tools to monitor activities of your kids
      • Impress on your kids that technology is meant to add value to others, not the other way around
    • Ensure that the “nanny’s” are also equipped of the basics of cyber wellness since the nanny spends more time with kids than parents, in some cases.
    • Listen [and do  not over react or under react]
    • Preserve the evidence [screen shot, do not delete email, chat or wall posting]
    • Try to identify the bully [ip address, profile]
    • Report the bully to the service provider
    • unfriend or block a bully
    • Communicate with the school and parent organization if your kid is the victim
    • Seek police or legal help when needed.
  3. Kid
    • Share your account with your parents.
    • Do not share too much information about you, your sibling and parents, where you live or study
    • Do not give your real time location
    • Do not post pictures of you and your family
    • Do not go to sites that encourages anonimity
    • Connect only with the people you know.
    • Do not talk to strangers in any way, shape or form
    • Do not engage a bully.
    • Report a bully to parents or trusted adult
    • Together with your parents, unfriend or block the bully.