online education

Cyberbullying: definition, prevention, what to do?

Anyone can be affected by online harassment. Many celebrities have also admitted to being victims of it: the actress of the Netflix series “Stranger Things” Millie Bobby Brown, the content creator Léna Situations or the singer Eddy de Pretto. More than 40% of people under the age of 50 have been victims of cyberbullying (Source 1). On the children’s side 20% of minors say they have been harassed online (Source 2). And according to a study by the moderator blog, most of the time they were harassed from strangers (Source 3).

Cyberbullying: how do you define it? When can we talk about cyberbullying?

Cyber ​​harassment means any malicious action against a person through electronic means: social networks, instant messaging … in general behind a screen. As with “classic” harassment, the counts here too Recurrence and duration over time.

What situations are considered cyberbullying?

According to the government, several situations qualify as cyber harassment (source 4):

  • Bullying, Insults, teasing, or threats online ;
  • the shipment of rumours ;
  • the hack account and digital identity theft;
  • the Post a photo or video of the victim in bad posture. “This practice is increasingly common in young people‘ estimates Axelle Desaint, director of the Internet Without Fear program, the national awareness program for young people’s screens and digital use.
Cyber ​​Harassment Study Infographic

© Sparkasse – E-Childhood

Cyber ​​Violence: Definition? What is the difference to cyberbullying?

That cyber violence is to be distinguished from cyber harassment: it isisolated actions (therefore not repeated over time), for example a hateful or degrading message on a website or an online threat.

“In general, cyber violence will be Starting point of cyberbullying. Isolated acts are increasingly classified as cyberbullying and thus as offense. To prevent the situation from degenerating into cyberbullying, You must act on the first malicious remarkat the first insult, at the first disturbing or hurtful message,” explains Axelle Desaint.

Imprisonment, fine… what does a cyberstalker risk under the law?

Cyber ​​harassment is considered a criminal offense under French law. As such, a cyber stalker risks prison sentence as well as a fine. The punishment is different depending on the age of the perpetrator and the victim.

  • If the author is Main : the penalty is 2 years in prison and a fine of 30,000 euros. If the victim is under 15 years old, the penalty can be up to 3 years in prison and a fine of €45,000.
  • If the perpetrator is between 13 and 18 years old and the victim is over 15 years old: The penalty is 12 months in prison and a fine of 7,500 euros. In the case of minors, the parents of the child are responsible for paying the fine.
  • If the perpetrator is between 13 and 18 years old and the victim is under 15 years old, he faces 18 months in prison and a fine of 7,500 euros.
  • In case of Cyber ​​Sexual Violence and in particular the online publication of intimate images without consent, the penalty can be up to 100 euros 2 years in prison and a fine of 60,000 euros.
  • Special rules apply to minors under the age of 13.

He is possible to prevent the risk of cyberbullying. First of all, pay attention to the use of your mobile phone and especially the social networks:

  • to have a secure password and kept secret;
  • to have a private account rather than public, particularly when posting privacy-related content;
  • pay attention to the published photos and content;
  • having in his subscribers only close people we really know.

While the topic of discussion is sometimes difficult, Web sources exists for Inform and educate children and parents in particular the fearless website, one of the three lines of action of the national program for the protection of minors by Safer Internet France.

What is the typical profile of young victims of online harassment?

Although anyone can be bullied online, studies show that young victims tend to:

  • old 13 years on average. In fact, cyberbullying is present in elementary school, but especially in middle school and high school ;
  • most of time girl ;
  • especially in online network games;
  • more registered on social networks and better equipped.

What to do about cyberbullying? in adults? with the child?

In the case of cyberbullying, several things need to be done:

  • if the cyberbullying took place via a social network, Block author(s).. Reporting tools exist in all social networks: they have to Report the cyber stalker account immediately. There’s one too Platform for reporting illegal content : contact point ;
  • It is important, keep all evidence online harassment and creating written copies or screenshots of malicious accounts, messages or content;

Where and how to talk about it?

Next, It is necessary to speak about it. Being harassed, whether online or offline, can have a significant impact psychological consequences : We must not isolate ourselves, but seek listening and support.

Since cyberbullying is a crime, the victim can do it file a complaint. The gendarmerie and the police are trained in these situations: they can help you to make a complaint, but also if you simply want to be referred to a charity or association for appropriate assistance.

  • There are several hearing aids and assistance devices: the free and anonymous bugging number supervised by psychologists 3018, and theApplication 3018deployed throughout France since February 2022. Other associations offer their help in this regard, notably the E-Enfance association, in charge of the number 3018, but also Marion la main tendue, an association approved by the Ministry of National Education (see the site? ˅).

Cyber-molested child, how to react?

It can be harder for minors to trust themselves and know how to respond. “Too often the children wait until the situation becomes dramatic before talking about it”, believes Axelle Desaint. But the rules are the same: block, report, keep evidence and talk about it.

The pHARe system will be rolled out by the Ministry of National Education in all schools and colleges from the start of the 2022 school year. The principle: speakers, school staff and students) are trained in cyber harassment to prevent these situations and listen to young people so that they are not isolated and can be helped.

What are the consequences of cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is a crime for a reason. Like any form of harassment, it can have serious consequences for the mental health of victims. “He tends to accelerate the phenomena of isolationDepression, with all the health implications this can have: behavior changesleep, concentration, mood, eating disorderSuicidal thoughts… There has been a very significant increase in suicides due to cyberbullying situations,” according to Axelle Desaint. Online harassment “leave no rest” and can have public dimensions given the number of people using social networks.

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