Cyberbullying might sound not too serious to some people because it’s doesn’t seem to happen in the real life. However, for a victim there is almost no difference between being bullied online and offline — the psychological impact is the same. And if we remember that it’s possible to track down a user’s location, the thoughts about cyberbullying begin getting a hint of anxiety.

The statistics show that almost half of young people were victims of cyberbullying. And since the beginning of the pandemic, as we all were forced to stay home, more and more users found much-needed release in bullying others online.

In this article, we will go through some statistics and things we can do to protect ourselves and our children from cyberbullies.

Cyberbullying usually occurs on social media

Statistics show that 70% of cyberbullying takes place on soal media platforms with Instagram being the favorite one for cyberbullies — 47% of cases happen there. Facebook takes up 37% of all cases, and Snapchat — 31%.

Almost all users that bully others — around 80% of cyberbullies — think that they’re not doing anything wrong because it’s fun to them. And just 20% of perpetrators have particular malicious intentions. But despite the goals a cyberbully has or hasn’t in mind, results can be serious.

The Journal of Health Economics studied this subject and found out that cyberbullying results in the increase of suicidal thoughts by 14.5% and suicide attempts by 8.7%.

While social media platforms are the primary field, 25% of cyberbullying takes place in online games. The competitive atmosphere and ardor make it easy for players to lash out at their teammates. In the gaming community, it’s called “flaming”. And while most users understand that this flaming comes from a player being upset, sometimes people overstep all boundaries one could imagine. They begin threatening a player who allegedly makes the team lose with discovering the user’s address by the IP address and other things.

Even though such threats might never come to life, it’s very distressing to hear them, especially for young children and teenagers who might not realize the whole ridiculousness of the threat.

Cyberbullying can become a cyberattack

Bullies can go quite far with their threats and hack a victim’s social media account to then do more harm. Tracking down a victim’s location by their IP address is also a type of cyberattack.

That’s why it’s important to use complex passwords and a VPN app. iNinja is a free VPN app that will keep you and your kids safe by covering the IP address. Then it will be impossible for cyberbullies to uncover the real address by using your IP.

People are very concerned about cyberbullying

Considering the scale of this issue and the consequences it can bring, it’s natural that people are worried about cyberbullying regardless of whether they have kids or not. Recent studies show that people are way more worried about cyberbullying and its rise in the times of Covid than about the virus itself.

Who takes the responsibility?

The opinions differ. In the UK, 65% of adults are sure that platforms must prevent bullying. However, even more believe — 70% of all adults — that families need to protect their children from cyberbullying, too.

The thing is that platforms can’t really control the whole situation — for example, they can’t watch over what users tell each other in private messages. All that’s possible to do is to check comments and posts and delete ones that are offensive. And platforms try to do that already. But the most effective measure against cyberbullying is to just block a bully and have a non-caring reaction to that. This is why so many people think that families are responsible if their children become cyberbullies — parents can teach their kids the correct behavior.

How to stay safe from cyberbullying?

There are effective things we can do to protect ourselves and our kids from bullies online. Of course, it’s impossible to protect children from everything. But there are some things we can do.

Use strong passwords

Strong combinations of letters, numbers, and special symbols protect accounts and devices from bullies quite well. Reliable passwords reduce the risk that a bully will get into an account or a device and cause any harm.

Use a VPN app

iNinja is a free VPN app that’s very easy to use and doesn’t slow down the connection speed. Establish a habit of turning it on whenever you’re performing any sensitive actions such as logging into your bank accounts — iNinja will cover your IP address safeguarding it from malefactors. Also, teach your child to use the VPN app for Windows and macOS during online gaming so that bullies can’t see the IP address.

Adjust privacy settings

Adjust your and your child’s account settings so that only people you know can see your online activity. Make sure strangers can’t send your kid private messages or friend requests. Also, those who aren’t friends shouldn’t see posted pictures, videos, and other content. Check privacy settings for all social media accounts.

Suggest that your child uses nicknames

It’s better if kids use nicknames instead of their real names online so that their identity is protected.

Be your kid’s support

Parents should be the ones their child comes for guidance, support, and venting. Then the chances that this kid becomes a bully or quietly suffers cyberbullying without parents knowing are very low.

Depending on your country and local laws, you can take legal action against some kinds of cyberbullying. For example, stalking and revenge porn are covered by the law in many countries. The same goes for harassment. Since it’s easy to gather proof against an online bully, it will be effortless to make sure they get proper punishment. Even if a bully is underage, they and their parents will suffer from consequences.