There are few tragedies greater than a child taking their own life. But, in this digital age, it’s a reality far too many parents are forced to confront.
And despite these terrifying consequences, many people still underestimate just how serious a threat cyberbullying is.
In fact, the statistics are appalling. At least a quarter of the South African parents that participated in a recent study indicated that their own children have been cyberbullied before. Even more surprising – the Ipsos Global Advisor study, which was carried out across 28 different countries, found that South Africa has the highest prevalence of cyberbullying.
And the consequences are indeed dire.
Children are taking their own lives
The South African Drug and Anxiety Group recently highlighted the deeply concerning spike in child suicides – listing cyberbullying as one of the reasons why.
But, despite these frightening statistics, current anti-bullying measures are insufficient – at least according to the majority of parents surveyed.
In South Africa, in particular, we tend to be slow to respond to online threats – a trend which could end up causing more teens to lose their lives.
If we ever hope to combat growing threats like cyberbullying, it’s clear we first need to generate greater awareness of what exactly it is and how it all starts.
The solution starts with awareness
Norton by Symantec, a global leader in Cyber Security, is ideally placed to lead the drive against cyberbullying. It’s for this reason that Rectron has been liaising with the security provider to find ways of pushing the narrative around cyberbullying.
Cue the #NortonCares initiative.
Through the initiative, Rectron and Norton have teamed to up to bring KidPower to schools across Johannesburg, and ultimately nationwide.
This is the first time ever that an anti-bullying specialist like KidPower will be conducting community work around cyberbullying in South Africa.
As a specialist, KidPower has the expertise we so desperately need to help children protect themselves from bullying and other forms of physical and emotional abuse as well.
With this in mind, Rectron will take KidPower into schools through safety workshops that provide both learners and parents with the tools they need to deal with cyberbullying effectively.
How to combat cyberbullying
For example, these are the kinds of helpful tips schools can expect to find in the KidPower programme:
- Helping children understand that cyberbullying can get them into serious trouble. In a growing number of places, it’s actually illegal.
- Encouraging children to speak up if they notice any cyberbullying taking place.
- Helping them understand that if someone is mean to them, reacting is not a good way to address the problem. Rather they should get help from a trusted adult.
- If a learner receives a message that is upsetting, encouraging them to not reply, but rather save the message, screen shot it and get help from an adult they trust.
- Advising learners never to post anything on social media they wouldn’t want the entire world to see.
Importantly, KidPower also caters for emotional and physical abuse, so schools are able to access workshops that are most relevant to the needs of their learners.
Part of Rectron’s focus is to deliver these critical messages around bullying and abuse in a fun and interactive way.
As such, the distributor has also teamed up with the Nexus – a gaming centre in Johannesburg. Together Rectron and the Nexus will host gaming days through which schools can access the #NortonCares knowledge and tools, while at the same time enjoying a fun day out with loads of activities and prizes.
The first of these gaming days is scheduled for January 2019.
Contact Rectron and The Nexus if any school is interested in better equipping itself to deal with cyberbullying.
Let’s put a stop to this scourge of cyberbullying in our schools.
This article was published in partnership with Rectron.