Cyberbullying a dangerous reality

2018-06-20 06:02
Lt Col Nadia Kika, head of the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) Unit of the Kimberley Police, speaking during a visit to the Diamantveld High School in Kimberley. This was part of a campaign to create awareness about cyberbullying. Photo: Supplied

Lt Col Nadia Kika, head of the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) Unit of the Kimberley Police, speaking during a visit to the Diamantveld High School in Kimberley. This was part of a campaign to create awareness about cyberbullying. Photo: Supplied

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Cyberbullying is harassment which is committed through the use of cellphones, computers or tablets, and which takes place on social media platforms via texting or chats.

It also occurs in the form of discriminatory, mean or hurtful messages, or through embarrassing or explicit photographs, videos or emails, which are shared or posted on these platforms and cause harm to others.

That is according to Lt Col Nadia Kika, head of the Family Violence, Child Protection and Sexual Offences (FCS) Unit of the Kimberley Police.

Kika and other members of her unit embarked on a cyber awareness campaign at schools all over the area serviced by the Frances Baard Cluster as part of a Youth Month programme.

She relayed her message to learners in different grades and various schools to create awareness.

The learners were also informed about the danger of becoming involved in sexting.

Kika said the sharing of explicit content, nude or semi-nude photographs, videos and suggestive messages portraying sexual behaviour have become popular among the youth and that they did not realise the implications.

She emphasised that it was also a criminal offence.

“There are legal con­sequences if you are found guilty of these offences, as you can be charged with crimen injuria, assault, criminal defamation or extortion,” Kika warned.

She urged all parents and caregivers to play a role and be aware of the type of technologies and social media platforms that are used by their children, as well as to monitor the content that is shared on these platforms.

“Let us work together to stop cyberbullying and sexting, and report it to the police on 08600-10111, or anonymously through the SMS line to 32211,” Kika asked.

Children can be protected

These tips can help parents protect a child against bullying:

  • Supervise electronic media at all times.
  • Monitor children’s beha­viour and be their “go-to” person.
  • Coach children to react to teasing and possible bullying incidents in the right way.
  • Teach children respectful self-assertion and social skills.
  • Advise children not to respond to possible bullying by fighting or bullying back, but to rather report the incident to a responsible adult.
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