What is cyberbullying and how is it different than bullying?
The Megan Meier Foundation, an important resource in the fight against bullying, defines cyberbullying as “willful and repeated bullying behavior that takes place using electronic technology. It can involve text, gaming devices, internet, social media, emails, blogs, cell phones, etc.”
While very similar to traditional bullying, cyberbullying takes place over technology, allowing a bully to be anonymous or hide behind a screen. It also means bullies can attack others over multiple channels at once.
The shear number of ways a bully can attack is the biggest difference between traditional bullying or early cyberbullying and today’s cyberbullies.
I was lucky–my cyberbullying took place before Facebook, Twitter, and all the other social media platforms. My cyberbullying was via AOL Instant Messenger. Yet, it had a deep impact on my life and high school experience.
My Real World Cyberbullying Story
I remember it like it was yesterday–it started with a girl, someone who was supposed to be a friend, asking me questions about some guys from another school. Before I knew it I was getting bombarded by messages from these guys–threatening me, claiming I was “talking trash”.
It didn’t take long before those attacks moved from the cyber world to the real world–phone calls, showing up at school events I attended, even a police report eventually being filed.
Looking back I realize how different things might have been had my parents known sooner what I was experiencing. What if they had possessed a tool that notified them something was up? A tool that said, “Hey! Potential problem over here! It’s time to talk to Charlie!”
In reality, that’s what I needed most: for my experience to be out in the open, rather than hidden down deep. That’s what kids do sometimes. They hide their pain and act like nothing’s wrong.
The problem is, silence only exacerbates the abuse, rather than make it go away.
When I look back on my cyber-bullying experience, I realize there’s no tool that could have changed human nature. Those kids were going to make the choices they did, but with openness and communication with my parents from day one, I might have been able to make different, better decisions. Decisions that could have changed my life.
How to Prevent Cyberbullying in 2017
At Hueya, we realize that the prospect of cyberbullying is a scary thing. It’s also a deeply personal thing. After all, we’re talking about your kid’s life.
Like many realms of online safety, proactive engagement and communication is key to prevention. Here are 3 key points to cyberbullying awareness and prevention:
- Have conversations with your kids consistently: Just like in other areas of life with children, knowing what is going on in your kid’s life is really important. Your kids may not always be willing to share, but creating a safe place for questions and problem solving is key to catching cyberbullying early.
- Help kids choose the best way forward: More often than not it is simply a response that a bully is looking for–bullies thrive on creating frenzy and causing havoc. The best thing for your child to do is avoid responding to the attacks. It will only give the bully more firepower for continued abuse. You can also find helpful tools for stopping cyberbullies on safeteens.com.
- Use your own experiences to connect: As an adult, you’ve likely had your own experiences with bullies or complex social interactions. Pulling from your own successful or unsuccessful experiences can make a huge difference in letting your kids know they aren’t alone in their struggles. Kid’s need tools, but more than anything they need to be seen, heard, and feel connected.
The problem with many of these tips is they require your children be open to informing you that they are being bullied. Hueya helps bridge this gap by providing you with an alert system to online conversations that correlate to cyberbullying.
The Hueya Family Solution to Cyberbullying
As a parent, it’s nearly impossible to monitor every social media channel your child uses. However, we realize if we can give parents a pulse on what’s going on in their children’s lives we might be able to change the cyberbullying epidemic. By alerting parents to POTENTIAL cyber abuse, we become the catalyst for conversation.
That’s why we created new, groundbreaking safety tools as part of our Family software:
- Hueya Score: The Hueya Score is at the core of what Hueya does: we secure personal information to keep your family safe. With Hueya Family you’ll see each family member’s Hueya Score as well as an average for the entire family. This tells you whether your family is safe or at risk.
- Situational Awareness: It’s no longer a challenge to be aware of the complex situations that our families experience online on a daily basis. Hueya’s Situational Awareness engine enables your family to watch for digital behavior that might put them at risk or in harm’s way. Hueya enables you to watch for cyberbullying behavior, offensive language, and even hints of stalking.
- Social Magnetism: Our proprietary Social Magnetism engine watches for volatility within the digital world. Volatility can mean many different things–for example, significant changes in follower/following size. This tool shows parents who in your family is highly magnetized or has been demagnetized. Helping parents pick up on signals that enable you to be present in your kid’s digital life.
- Family Dashboard: Transparency is a central value of Hueya, and the dashboard provides visibility into your kid’s online world while also developing trust within your family. Each of the above features are displayed in one place on the family dash for the entire family to see.
At Hueya, we believe information and transparency between parents and kids is incredibly powerful. Openness leads to communication and trust and this leads to better relationships. We do this work because we believe in the power of relationship.
Try Hueya Family FREE for 30 days and help prevent cyberbullying from impacting your family: