Shielding Our Digital Youth: Combatting Cyberbullying-Shielding Our Digital Youth - Combatting Cyberbullying-Author Default
Ms Beatriz Sanchez
01 April, 2024

Shielding Our Digital Youth: Combatting Cyberbullying

Shielding Our Digital Youth: Combatting Cyberbullying-Shielding Our Digital Youth - Combatting Cyberbullying-News Default Image
Empowering Parents and Educators with Vital Insights and Protective Measures
In her first article, Ms. Sanchez, an esteemed Primary Special Educational Needs Coordinator, delves into the complex world of cyberbullying with precision and care. As cyberbullying continues to plague virtual environments, it's imperative for parents and educators to grasp its nuances and arm themselves with effective preventive measures.

Hello readers! My name is Beatriz Sanchez and I am the Primary Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENCO). I am writing on behalf of the department to share some important information about a very important topic: Cyberbullying. 

Cyberbullying is the practice of bullying through virtual environments such as social networks and messaging applications. Bullying consists of persecution, humiliation, intimidation, aggression and systematic defamation. When these problems leave the sphere of physical coexistence and move into the sphere of virtual realm, we have cyberbullying, which is now common among young people due to the popularisation of Internet easy access. 

Bullying is a form of physical, verbal and psychological aggression that is systematic and continuous, whereby an individual or group systematically targets a victim because of their appearance or behaviour, which generally does not conform to the standard of normality established by the social group. Cyberbullying is the extension of bullying from the physical to the virtual environment. 

Shielding Our Digital Youth: Combatting Cyberbullying-Shielding Our Digital Youth - Combatting Cyberbullying

While bullying among teenagers is widespread in the school environment, cyberbullying transcends any physical boundaries and deprives the victim of any possibility of escaping the attacks that are taking place all the time, mainly through social networks. There are some common actions that are regularly displayed by the aggressors. Such as: 

  • Displaying embarrassing photos or montages; 
  • Distributing intimate photos; 
  • Repeatedly criticising the physical appearance, opinions and social behaviour of individuals.

Despite the sense of security that the aggressor feels, he/she is committing a crime and can be punished. Cyberbullying is punishable under the Penal Code when it constitutes an offence against honour (slander, defamation and insult - Article 138 of the Brazilian Penal Code), an offence of racial insult (racial attacks - Article 140 of the Brazilian Penal Code) and the publication of images with intimate content (Article 218-C of the Brazilian Penal Code, inserted by Law 13,718 of 2018). 

In all cases, the penalties provided for in the Brazilian Penal Code can reach four years' imprisonment. In the civil sphere, aggressors may be ordered to pay compensation for moral damages. If the aggressor is a minor, the perpetrators are liable in court and may be ordered to pay compensation to the victim and his or her family. 

Fake social media profiles and emails, used by many attackers to avoid revealing their true identity, can be traced and discovered by analysing the IP address (a type of address that records and identifies every point of access to the Internet). The IP can be discovered through a judicially authorised police investigation. 

As with bullying outside the virtual environment, cyberbullying also can have serious consequences for young victims. In general, an initial picture of isolation and sadness can develop into severe depression, anxiety and panic disorder. 

Find below some safety procedures to protect your children: 

  • Protect accounts and devices: use passwords on everything. Those are the most effective ways to protect personal information. It’s important to emphasize not to share passwords with friends and colleagues. 

  • Use privacy tools and settings: Make sure your kids are aware of the privacy settings and tools offered by the app. Almost all the social media platforms have this option. 

  • Keep personal information private: Reinforce to your children never share addresses, cell phone numbers and email online. They might be careful about the information they share online, such as the school they attend to, places they are, especially if they have followers they don’t know. Remind them that it is possible that some people are not always who they are online.  

  • Think before posting: Children and teenagers can create a post (offline) on social media but teach them to come back later to decide if they want to post it or not. Doing it could keep them from posting things they could regret. 

  • Log out when using public devices: Whenever using public computers, they should always remember to log out of those accounts (email, website accounts, etc). Simply closing the tab is not enough!