Our work on Cyberbullying!
By Ryan Murphy, 13.
My name is Ryan, I’m 13 years old and have been a member of Young NCB for 1 year. As part of my work on the Young NCB Advisory Group, I have been really lucky to have had the opportunity to represent the voices of children and young people around cyberbullying by being part of The Royal Foundation Taskforce on the Prevention of Cyberbullying. This blog post discusses the issue of cyberbullying and says what we as young representatives of NCB are doing to tackle it.
What are the issues around cyberbullying?
There are a few big issues affecting young people around cyberbullying with nearly 43% of kids having been bullied online before and 1 in 4 has had it happen more than once. 70% of students report seeing frequently bullying online. Young people don’t think about what they say before they post online and not being face to face gives them courage to say things that they probably wouldn’t in a face to face situation. However, young people can feel grieved by a message that might not have been intended to cause harm. I feel it is very important to get young people involved in this issue because they have a very important view and are also the future generation and should have a big say in what happens online. Adults rarely get cyberbullied, statistics show that children are 94% more likely to be a target than adults.
What is the Cyberbullying Taskforce?
The Royal Foundation Taskforce on the Prevention of Cyberbullying was set up by the Duke of Cambridge to bring together industry partners (such as Twitter, the BBC and Google) and advisors from the charity sector to develop a response to the online bullying of young people. This is an issue that the Duke feels strongly about. He knows that social media and other technologies are creating many positive opportunities for young people but as a parent, he knows that many adults worry about how to protect their children from the new ways to bully that technology is creating. He hopes the taskforce can help the industry share the best practice that is emerging across the sector and put in place new standards so that the internet is something that young people and their parents can embrace.
What are Young NCB doing to tackle cyberbullying?
Young NCB members have been involved in the Cyberbullying Taskforce work since it began almost a year ago. Last May, the Duke of Cambridge met us to discuss why cyberbullying is an issue and what our ideas were on how we can combat it – you can read some of these in my ‘top-tips’ below. Last month, we attended 2 sessions with the Cyberbullying Taskforce to develop some ‘codes of practice’. For this, we went to Sky Studios to make a news report on our code and to YouTube to make a vlog.
NCB trip to Sky News Academy HQ
On the 14th of February, several young people representing NCB visited the Sky News Academy for the cyberbullying taskforce. It was a great day and we all learnt some new and valuable skills. As part of the cyberbullying task force, we were all assigned to help make a code of conduct for internet use amongst young people. To come up with this code, all the young people in the room were split into four groups to come up with some ideas. Each group gave themselves a name, my group was called ‘stop, think, react’ and the other groups were called: ‘Face2Face’, ‘it’s a two-way streak’ and ‘the 3Rs’. We all came up with lots of good and interesting ideas which you can read about below. We then voted on which idea we thought was the best. The group called ‘it’s a two-way streak’ won the most popular vote, so we headed down to the Sky news academy to make a news report about it.
On the actual event, we did a mixture of things e.g. discussed the most important issues online and also solutions to prevent them in the future. We started off by having several cards displayed on a table, each having a problem - we then sorted through them and decided the most important topics that we should try and fix. At the Sky news academy, we all chose what roles we wanted to play. Some chose to be news reporters, producers, directors etc. I personally chose to be an editor. It was great fun pulling the news report together. We also discussed about putting it on YouTube. We are very proud of what we have achieved. We filmed it by acting out various different parts in front of a green screen. As an editor, I had to put all the backgrounds in and bring the film together. The code we created will be used to warn young people about the internet. At our next NCB meeting, we will be expanding on it as much as we can.
NCB trip to YouTube headquarters
We took a trip to the YouTube headquarters where we were lucky enough to meet the YouTube star Tomsca. He gave us an inspiring talk about his life online and his experiences of getting bulled in the past. We also made 5 amazing short videos and got to learn how to have the best light in studios. You can watch the video here.
My top tips to combat cyberbullying
- Before you post something on any social media, whether it’s a message or a post, there should be a pop up asking you if you are sure you want to post the picture/message to make sure you think before posting.
- Filling up your friends' social media feeds with positive posts instead of negative ones can boost morale.
- Starting a social media page for friends to submit positive acts they see in school could promote a culture of positivity on and offline.
- Protect your password and all private information because you don’t want to give bullies the chance to put false or mean comments on your social media.
- Set up privacy controls, restrict who can see your online profiles to only trusted friends.
- Log out of your accounts on any device that is not yours, this ensures you will not be hacked.
- Don’t respond or retaliate to any mean comment because sometimes they are only looking for a reaction and you will then be giving them what they want. In which case, you are no better than them and become a cyberbully yourself.
- If you are getting cyberbullied, make sure you save the evidence. This is one of the advantages of being bullied online and not face to face as you can save the information and show it to someone who can help.
- Block the person, if someone is being nasty online then one of the easiest ways to stop it is to simply block them.
- In order to stop cyberbullying you must be able to understand it first and truly educate yourself about it.
To conclude, everyone at the events learnt an amazing variety of new knowledge and skills e.g. how to be safe online and to always think before you send anything. Think about the reaction the person may have and whether you would say that to them face to face.