- Practical help: What to do when being (cyber) bullied
- Update 10/12/13: After the Anti-Bullying Act of 2013- More Needs to Be Done
October is being observed as “anti-bullying month” in some parts of the world, and it is but timely to have the topics “bullying” and “cyber bullying” prevention in the recently concluded 3rd Parent’s Congress at Saint Louis University’s Prince Bernhard Gym, Baguio City, the summer capital of the Philippines. This was organized by Child and Family Service Philippines and the Saint Louis University Sunflower Children’s Center.
It was fun doing back to back talk with an electrifying speaker like Dr. Ryan Guinaran, who touched on the subject of Bullying. He laid the foundation for my talk on Cyberbullying and Digital Parenting.
Doc Ryan and I agreed that the twin issues of Bullying and Cyberbullying is a threat that is generally not openly admitted because, with some exception or course, the parents and the victim(s), and school officials do not want to be the poster face of the problem.
“Incidents of bullying remain under reported” said Doc Ryan.
I could not agree more, because I am receiving conflicting feedbacks during my school gigs. A guidance counselor said, “it is not a problem in our school”, but the statement was contradicted by one of the class advisers. So during my talk, I asked the students directly, and to my amazement 1/3 of the audience of about 400 raised their hands and admitted they have been bullied online.
What is Bullying?
According Doc Ryan, bullying has several forms
And the consequences vary depending on the situation. In the Philippines, we have at least 2 recorded physical bullying that lead to death, and a case where a parent allegedly pointed a gun to a bullying victim.
What is Cyberbullying?
Cyber bullying is a form of bullying. It involves four elements to be classified as such.
This involves the use of cell phone and related electronic devices, tablets, computers, social web , and the use of videos and images.
The act is not spontaneous, as in the outraged involving the reactions against the person caught on camera slapping an MMDA enforcer
This is where a normal human reaction (to a wrong doing) differs from cyberbullying. If the online behavior becomes a repeated act and directed to one person or group, then it becomes a potential case of cyber bullying.
The last element needed to classify an act as cyber bullying is the obvious hostile behavior of the perpetuator to the subject. This hostility is reflected on either the text, static images (photos that were photoshopped) and videos that are intended to strip the victim of self dignity and worth. Disrupt the normal routine by sowing fear.
Before I go any further, “bullying” in international circle, is commonly referred to minors (victim and aggressor). If an adult is involve, the term being used is either cyber harassment or cyber stalking. The distinction was made in reference to their law.
All these semantics will be clarified in Philippine context as soon as the cyberbullying law is passed and signed by the President.
The law was passed, though bullying and cyberbullying is both used for minor and adult victims, the law only applies to high school students and below.
What to do?
If being bullied or cyber bullied , here are the things that a victim, parents or guardians of victims can do:
- Tell your parents or guardian about it (if minor).
- Report it to the school authority. Per Dep Ed policy, both pubic and private schools are to set-up a CPC (Child Protection Committee) to receive reports and handle cases involving abuse and exploitation of kids.
- If social web was used for bullying, report it to the service provider the alleged abusive behavior so they can act on it.
- For Facebook, go here: http://www.facebook.com/help/359033794168099/
- For Twitter, go here: https://support.twitter.com/groups/33-report-a-violation/topics/122-reporting-violations/articles/15789-how-to-report-violations
- Also for cyber bullying, block the concerned hostile account from accessing your social networking account(s).
- If applicable, change your email address and CP # or sim card and gradually share it to the people you trust.
- If necessary, have a vacation from your online activities
- File a complaint to police authorities. If you are from the Philippines, you can file an online complaint at PNP CIDG- AngelNet, go here: http://cidgangelnet.ph/main/?page_id=121 .
- Keep in mind that there are 2 laws that can be used for bullying cases. These are Batas Pambansa 232 and Republic Act 7610
- Seek professional help if needed to recover from the trauma.
- Move on.