Written by Kylie Barton, Researcher, One Community
Cybercrime, and by extension, cyberbullying is one of those ‘under the iceberg’ crimes that we are still figuring out how best to tackle. Simon Hayes, Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight said:
As we embrace technology and conduct our lives online, so crime has changed and moved online to follow us.”
1 in 6 residents from across the South-East were victims to a cybercrime in the last 12 months and this included bullying and harassment. The PCC has recently announced a £1.5m commitment to tackling cybercrime which shows that the authorities are getting on top of this, but what can the rest of us do to support and protect our young people?
How young people socialise, create and maintain relationships, and communicate has changed so much over the last decade, and older generations don’t quite know how to deal with it. Adults will often say ‘just turn it off’, but that is the equivalent of saying just sit in the loos and eat your lunch (that was never the answer to playground bullying). If young people are not part of their online community, they feel isolated, and it is not as simple as just logging off.
One has to wonder whether face to face bullying has declined with the increase in cyber-bullying. Now people can hide behind a screen it is a much more vicious environment. With cyberbullying, it is often not just the bullies and the bullied involved, but a whole network of online ‘friends’ making the experience even more harrowing and public.
Young people engage on multiple platforms every day. It’s not just Facebook and Twitter which we adults are more familiar with, but Snapchat, Whatsapp, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, and more. Young people make videos about their interests, and almost video diaries, which opens them up to abuse, and increases their vulnerability.
At Eastleigh Young Carers we have become more aware of this, with a number of our already vulnerable young people experiencing cyberbullying. Where young carers by their very nature are more isolated, their online lives become even more important to them.
So to raise awareness of the issue, provide coping tools, and support we are holding an internet safety workshop on Wednesday 16th March. If your child is registered on the project and you think they can benefit give the office a call on 023 8090 2418 to book them a place.