Worried about Cyber bullying and Sexting?
7 in 10 young people are victims of cyberbullying.
37% of them are experiencing cyberbullying on a highly frequent basis.
An estimated 5.43 million young people in the UK have experienced cyberbullying, with 1.26 million subjected to extreme cyberbullying on a daily basis.
figures are from the 2014 national survey on bullying in the UK
Cyber bullying is a recent problem. It seems that even some people who might not bully or be unkind in the playground, somehow feel able to be really nasty and threatening on-line or via texts. Perhaps the reason for this is that there is no direct contact, it can be more anonymous and may not feel so real as bullying someone directly. However cyber bullying can be very serious.
Some forms of cyber-bullying are illegal and would be taken very seriously by the police. A person involved could be investigated by the police and prosecuted.
Social network sites
One of the worst places for cyber-bullying is social network sites.
Facebook: of all youths polled, 75% of them use facebook and 54% of those experienced cyberbullying.
Myspace: of all youths polled 4% use it and of that, 89% experienced cyberbullying.
- Do not accept anyone as your 'friend' on these sites unless you know who it is and trust them, even then you can not be sure that someone won't turn against you.
- Never give out your password (for any online site/ email address) even to a friend. You never know who might get hold of it and send out malicious messages to other people, or post embarrassing or hurtful stuff on your social network page.
- Report any abuse as soon as you can to a parent/ carer or teacher and if it is on an online game or social network site, then report it to the site administrators, they can usually block that person from using the site.
If you feel that you still want to use these social network sites just beware of the dangers and make sure you know how to prevent potential problems.
No body language cues
Because of the nature of communication via text, or email not being face to face, or even directly hearing speech, there is an increased likelihood that something that meant as a friendly teasing joke, could be mis-interpreted by the person receiving it. There may be 'emoticons' to convey emotions, but unless we see someones face and body language, or hear their tone of voice, it is sometimes hard to decide what the intention behind a message is. Beware of this when sending what you might think is a joke text or email!
Be very careful who you hand out your telephone number or email address to and if someone is doing this to you, you must imediately block their calls before it has time to escalate.
Types of Cyber bullying
- Sending threatening, un-kind, or uncomfortable text message to a mobile phone
- Making silent, hoax or abusive call to mobile phones
- Making and sharing embarrassing images or videos via mobile phone or website
- Broadcasting unsuitable web cam footage that is threatening or manipulative
- Leaving hurtful messages on social networking sites or sending the same message to that person’s peer group
- ‘Outing’ people by sharing private information online
- Stealing an online identity in order to cause trouble in that person’s name
- Setting up hate sites or hate groups against an individual
- Sending menacing or upsetting responses in chat rooms, online games, or messenger ‘real time’ conversations
- Deliberately excluding people from online games or groups
- Voting for someone in an insulting online poll
- Sending someone ‘sexts’ that try to pressure them into sexual acts or pressurising people to send sexual photographs of themselves via email or text.
Sexting can be a form of Cyber bullying, it is something that has come about since the relatively recent widespread use of mobile phones and handheld devices as cameras that can easily send photos to other people. Sexting (or "sex texting") is the sending or receiving of sexually explicit or sexually suggestive images, messages, or video via a mobile phone or the Internet.
If someone is sending you offensive or sexually explicit texts or emails, block them immediately, if you don't know how to block them, then get someone to help you.
Some people might think that this is just harmless fun, especially if it is between a couple, it might seem daring and exciting. However if anyone, (even your girlfriend or boyfriend) asks you to do this, you must think very carefully about whether this is something you want to do, this involves taking into consideration the possibility that the person you send it to might show it to other people, or might even post it on a social networking site for anybody to see.
My advice is do not ever do this.
By sending someone a picture of a private part of yourself, or you doing something that is sexual, or normally private, or describing a sexual act, you are making yourself very vulnerable.
Something which might not seem a big deal at the time, could escalate into something extemely damaging to you, which you may never have anticipated in the first place.
Respect your body, respect yourself
We are born with the bodies we've got and have to live with them all our lives. Learn to respect your body, love it for what it is. In this culture of exhibitionism, it might be easy to feel under pressure to do things which you aren't comfortable with. Never do something you feel uncomfortable about, to impress other people, or because someone is pressurising you to do it. Especially something sexual.
If somebody,( perhaps your boyfriend or girlfriend) is pressurising you into doing something like this which you are not comfortable with, they might use all sorts of techneques to manipulate you into doing what they want you to do, such as saying 'If you love me you'll do it', making you feel that you are inferior, or babyish for not wanting to do it, or perhaps telling you that everyone else does it and making you feel that you need to do it to feel excepted. Don't let anything anyone says to you to make you feel bad, affect your decision to do something, when your gut instinct is not to do it.
Many people sext as a joke, as a way of getting attention. for some people it's a way of flirting, being seen as cool, or becoming popular.
Celebraties sometimes expose themselves, or talk explicitly about their sexual activity to get media attention (often on TV shows such as 'Big Brother') and as a result some teenagers and kids think that this must be cool. Don't allow yourself to get swept along by this.
The regretful feeling of exposing yourself, (possibly to lots of people), can have a very damaging effect on your emotional and psychological well-being, just like any other form of sexual abuse. The fact that you chose to do it may leaving you blaming yourself and feeling very humiliated and embarrassed. These scars could stay with you for the rest of your life.
Stay strong, know your boundaries
Ultimately people will respect you more for having strong personal boundaries. This applies to any pressure you may be under to perform sexual acts too.
If you are unsure or don't feel ready, don't do it!
Listen to what your body tells you
If something doesn't feel right, if you feel scared, or unsure about anything, your body will alert you by giving you feelings like butterflies in your stomach, or making you feel a bit sick, or not yourself, perhaps a feeling of being disconnected from yourself. Listen to these feelings. Be in touch with your body, listen to it's signals.
What are your boundaries?
When you have a bit of quiet time to yourself, sit and have a think about what personal boundaries you have, out of respect for yourself and your body.
If someone is sending you offensive images, you can block their texts.
Respect your self and your body. You have the right to decide what is right for you.
If you need any help or advice about anything related to these topics, talk to a good friend that you can trust, or perhaps you have a parent / carer or teacher who you feel comfortable talking to, if not then there are various organisations that can help you and give you advice such as
Affirmations of respect
- I respect myself and my own privicy
- I respect other people and their right to privicy
- I am aware of how to increase my safety online and on the mobile phone and always keep these precautions in mind when online, or using a phone.
- I have strong personal boundaries and will not let anyone cross them
All SMART Coaching(Stress Management And Relaxation Techniques) are designed to provide excellent and relevant quality well-being and mindfulness training, mindfulness training in schoolsor with young minds and intuition, insight mindfulness training across all sectors.