Cyber bullying spike: eSafety Commissioner tips on how to protect your kids

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There has been a spike in cyber bullying amongst younger individuals throughout Covid. Experts say there are easy measures dad and mom can take.

Reports of cyber-bullying have surged in the course of the Covid pandemic, however increasingly more colleges and houses are studying how to stop the abuse.

With many of the nation compelled on-line, there was a spike in cyber-bullying and image-based abuse for college kids in major and highschool.

Statistics supplied by the eSafety Commissioner’s workplace present that one in 5 Australian kids have been cyberbullied, with 14 being the common age of the victims.

Girls are focused far more than boys and that is most prevalent in major colleges, the place 70 per cent of the bullying is directed at younger women.

Research from the Cyber Safety Project additionally discovered that youngsters are accessing social media at a youthful age due to Covid.

“Before the pandemic, there were about 40 per cent of the students we assessed who had used social media before the age of 12. Our research earlier this year, from about 2,000 students, showed that 84 per cent of them had now used social media before they were 12,” Cyber Safety Project co-founder Trent Ray mentioned.

However, there has additionally been important development in applications centered on stopping cyber-bullying and image-based abuse.

eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant mentioned uptake of the organisation‘s Trusted eSafety Provider program, which endorses evidence-based online safety education programs for schools, has grown significantly.

“In the last financial year, 2,772 schools – or about 29 per cent of all Australian schools – had at least one session from a Trusted eSafety Provider,” Ms Inman Grant said.

“These providers reported a total of 772,305 participants had taken part in their school-based programs in the 2020-21 financial year alone.

Tips for protecting kids online

News.com.au spoke to cyber safety experts about the most common forms of cyber-bullying and image-based abuse for primary and high school students.

They recommend getting in and trying the games and apps your kids are using, as well as starting an open dialogue about what they like to do on the internet.

Here are some of their top tips for primary school-aged students, high school students, online gaming and creating positive online relationships.

Primary school-aged children

Getting involved with the apps and games primary school-aged children are using is the key piece of advice from cyber safety experts.

Optus Digital Thumbprint Program manager Kristina Binks said most parents should be able to navigate through their children’s on-line purposes.

“Get in there and see how it feels, have a look at the choices obtainable on the product. Whether it‘s a reside chat or totally different parts of the sport,” she mentioned.

She added it was essential to be hands-on as nearly all of youngsters be taught by making errors.

“This generation of children has been raised on technology where it is very low stakes. There was a lot of concern on computers in the 90s and 2000s where you felt as if one mistake could wreck the system,” she mentioned.

“Kids nowadays learn online by making mistakes, because the repercussions are so minor now it is easy for them to do. The problem from this is that they learn what the boundaries are but they do not understand these boundaries.”

High school-aged youngsters

As youngsters transfer into highschool they face better issues with image-based abuse and cyber-bullying.

Studies present that bullying by the ages of 10-14 impacts its victims the worst.

As the scholars grow old, there may be additionally the prevalence of image-based abuse. This sometimes manifests itself as intimate images being shared on-line.

Ms Binks mentioned it is crucial for youngsters to know the legality of what they might be doing.

“In their teens, they are starting to explore different online communications. When texting a partner, how do you know it will not get shared? If you are over the age of 18, you are able to legally send some types of images. But if you are not there are strict rules,” she mentioned.

“People often miss the fact that asking for naked photos is also against the law. This is the same with sharing, or having naked photos on your phone that were not intended for you – or the person is under 18.”

Gaming

Gaming on-line is nicely and actually part of rising up in 2021.

Millions of individuals have interaction with these video games, which act as social platforms, the world over.

Cyber Safety Project co-founder Trent Ray mentioned that 90 per cent of the kids who have interaction of their applications play video games, and 60 per cent of them mentioned they play often.

“Online gaming is a new type of social interaction, most games now have an element of social connectedness. Most children play with people they know, however, there is the element of the unknown in these environments,” he mentioned.

“Our surveys show that 39 per cent of children have an ongoing friendship with someone they met online.”

He recommends dad and mom actively trying by the sport for privateness and wellbeing settings.

“The games have these settings which can protect children, but they are not a default setting. You just need to jump in and switch them on,” he mentioned.

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