Unfortunately, it happens again and again that children tease each other. Some kids are particularly quiet, a little overweight, or disliked for other reasons. Unfortunately, you know this problem all too well. By the way, when a child is ostracized, it’s called bullying. Today, we can share photos and news with the whole world via the Internet. On the one hand, this is very convenient, but on the other hand, it can be extremely dangerous. Because often photos are disfigured or secrets are told publicly. This type of bullying is called cyberbullying. This article tells you exactly what it is and how you can protect yourself and others from it.
Table of contents
Teasing On The Internet
Bullying has probably always existed. Today, however, it has become somewhat easier. With a cell phone, tablet or PC, it’s easy to spread mean messages and pictures. Read on to learn why that is.
- On platforms like Facebook, such posts can spread even more uncontrollably. The more people share the post on their own page or mark it with “like”, the faster it happens.
- Because the perpetrators are sometimes anonymous, it is even easier for them to write such nastiness. Being anonymous means that you don’t know the name of the perpetrator.
- Cyberbullying can happen around the clock. Usually, kids who are teased have their peace after school. Today, however, bullying continues even there. Children who own a cell phone are often inundated with many unpleasant text messages. So it is hardly possible to escape the bullying anymore.
- In chats or on Facebook, bullying gets worse and worse because the victims can strike back very quickly. People call each other names, while more and more children join in to join in.
- It’s easier to write mean remarks instead of saying them out loud. When you have to face the victim, you feel less comfortable than in front of the PC. Moreover, bullying sometimes starts “unintentionally”. After all, misunderstandings happen very quickly on the Internet. What was perhaps only meant as foolishness then becomes bitter seriousness.
Here’s What The Law Says
Cyberbullying has been a criminal offense for several years. So if a person makes fun of someone else on the Internet, they are committing a crime that can be reported to the police. It is very likely that the perpetrator will then receive a fine. By the way, it can even happen that the parents of the offender have to pay a fine. They then have to pay for the damage caused. There are differences in cyberbullying laws depending on the country. However, the following is almost always prohibited:
- Filming and disseminating videos of violence against other people.
- Targeted insults against children in Internet forums or Facebook groups (hate groups).
- Causing massive, mental suffering (counts as bodily harm!).
- Psychological terror by sending insulting or threatening messages via SMS or e-mail (especially at night).
- Putting photos online that show other people in an embarrassing situation.
- Secretly taking photos or videos of classmates and teachers, e.g., during classes.
Thus, cyberbullying is not just a silly goof. As you now know, it can have serious legal consequences. Therefore, it’s best to stay out of such attacks on the web instead of participating in them. In such situations, it is always better to talk to an adult about it. In any case, you should get help so that the victim is not left alone with his or her problem.
Tips For Using Facebook And Co.
To prevent such things from happening in the first place, you should follow a few safety tips when using the Internet.
- Security settings: In Facebook and Whatsapp, there are some settings options to protect your privacy. These allow you to determine which of your posted content is visible to everyone. It’s best to review these options with your parents and make some changes where you see fit.
- Be sparing with information about yourself. Especially on Facebook, you can put anything you want about yourself and your life on your profile. Think carefully about what others are allowed to know and whatnot. You should never enter contact information such as your phone number or place of residence on Facebook.
- Share your photos only with close friends. When you post a photo, you can specify who can see it. This way you can exclude specific people from seeing it. Only upload photos to the Internet that you like yourself in. Choose neutral photos that can’t be easily defaced.
- Raise the issue of Facebook, the Internet, and cyberbullying at your school. Ask your teacher to spend an hour on this topic. It often helps to talk to each other in class about the topic to prevent bullying in the first place.
- Take a look at our other articles on Facebook and Internet safety if you still have questions.
Help With Cyberbullying
If you are a victim of cyberbullying yourself, talk to your parents about it immediately, even if you are ashamed of something. If you don’t want to do that, you can contact the telephone counseling service, talk to a teacher or a member of your family about it. The telephone counseling service does not cost you any extra fees and is available around the clock. The experts you reach there have to keep confidentiality. This means that they are not allowed to tell anyone about what you confide in them. The telephone counseling service also has the advantage that you do not have to give your name. So you can pour out your heart without having to be ashamed of anything.
You can reach the telephone counselling service at the following number:
- From Switzerland and Austria: dial 147.
- From Germany: dial 0800/1110111 or 0800/1110222.
There are forums and chats on the Internet that deal with cyberbullying. If you have the opportunity to talk about the problem with someone from your environment, it is better to avoid these forums. A person you know and trust can comfort you much better and help you do something about it.
Worksheet For The Text
1) Explain the difficult words from the text.
- Cyber bullying
2) At what number can you reach the telephone helpline in your country? Write it down here.
3) Have you ever seen someone being teased? Maybe even yourself? Write down here what you have experienced.
4) Make a suggestion box for your class. You can use it to write anonymous letters that will be read by a guidance counselor. If you want, you can also write your own name underneath.
Photo: kaarsten / bigstockphoto.com