Cyberbullying can be defined as any form of bullying that involves digital devices such as computers, smart phones and tablets. With the increasing popularity of social media applications, gaming sites and chat rooms it is becoming common practice for young people to socialise with each other via these platforms. Digital devices can provide a fast and fun way to keep in touch with friends, but things can go wrong very quickly. Many applications have age restrictions and are policed but this is not enough to discourage bullying.
Cyberbullying includes the sending of messages or posting of material online or between individuals that can be hurtful, harmful and inappropriate. The Royal Foundation recently reported that a nationwide survey revealed that 55% of young people have received hurtful comments online, with 18% experiencing cyberbullying. This problem is worsening and needs to be addressed as a matter of urgency.
In May 2016 The Royal foundation brought together a youth-led team known as “The taskforce of the prevention of cyberbullying”. Many large companies including Facebook, Snapchat, Vodaphone and the NSPCC came together to develop an action plan that could help make a difference and become a world wide blueprint for the prevention of cyberbullying. On 16th November 2017, The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge launched the national action plan ‘Stop, Speak, Support’ to tackle cyberbullying. The young people asked for help to identify a set of actions to help them behave better online which would become part of a campaign, and to highlight the positivity of social media and internet based platforms. They also requested that parents, teachers and carers to encourage positive behaviour online as well as offline.
“Under The Royal Foundation the industry has come together for the first time to design a comprehensive Action Plan to address the important issue of cyberbullying. This Action Plan is the first step in positioning the UK as a global leader in this area and we are looking forward to the industry building upon this vital work…Working together, we are now much closer to our ambition of making life online safer for young adults.”
Brent Hoberman, Taskforce Chair
The Stop, Speak Support code provides the following advice:
- Action 1: Take time out before getting involved, and don’t share or like negative comments.
- Action 2: Try and get an overview of what’s really going on.
- Action 3: Check the community guidelines for the site you’re on.
- Action 1: Ask an adult or friend that you can trust for advice.
- Action 2: Use the report button for the social media it’s happening on.
- Action 3: Speak to one of the charities set up to help with situations like this, such as Childline.
- Action 1: Give the person being bullied a supportive message to let them know they’re not alone.
- Action 2: Encourage the person being bullied to talk to someone they can trust.
- Action 3: Give the person being bullied a positive distraction from the situation.
The promotional campaign to highlight the code will run for three months until ‘Safer Internet Day’, and seeks to reach every single 11-16-year-old in this country. The aim is to empower all young people to take a stand against bullying (retrieved from www.stopspeaksupport.com).
More information can be found at the following websites: