Pretoria – If you see something, do something. Talk to someone you trust, and while parents are often not a child’s first preference for reporting bullying, other platforms are available to use.
This advice was given by Muriel Mafico of Unicef, dealing with cyberbullying and the psychological effects it has on young people. “There are systems in place, use them,” she says. Teachers and nonprofits offer free services to people in need, she added.
The deputy representative of the United Nations agency in South Africa said that society as a whole must respond to the growing tendency of some to use technology to intimidate others, “… from tech companies to schools to parents and everybody; children must have access to digital platforms to empower themselves, but they must be safe spaces ”.
Because of the anonymity through which bullies could spread the injury and the devastating and lasting effects cyberbullying has brought about, she said, access to help must be immediate and around the clock.
“The government must create an enabling environment to ensure that frontline workers get the support they need to stop it; parents should set an example of positive behavior; children need to be helped to understand the technology they are using, ”she said during a discussion between the Government Communication and Information System, the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies and the National Club of the press on cyberbullying and its effects on young people. “Let’s reinvent a safer South Africa for all children who connect to the internet,” she said.
The discussion took place after Lufuno Mavhunga’s suicide, after footage of his assault by a classmate went viral. This, the speakers said, was classic cyberbullying and its tragic effects.
Deputy Minister of Communications and Digital Technologies Pinky Kekana said: “It is incumbent upon all of us to act deliberately against violence in all its forms.
It was important to understand how bullies became bullies, she said. There were many factors. “Their motivations may stem from anger, hatred or the desire to belong. It can also be a craving for attention. “
The need for more regulation to educate children and adults about cyberbullying had become overwhelming as the number of cases increased. “The key for us as parents is to make sure we teach intolerance for this. Let’s not assume that our children are innocent. “
It was also important to teach children to resist cyberbullying, bullying and violence. Teach children that “if they can’t say it in someone’s face, why post it; ask what the consequences of sharing them will be, ”she said.
The consequences, the speakers agreed, lasted well beyond childhood and manifested themselves in low self-esteem, mental health issues, poor performance in school and work, and in some cases. , the victims also became bullies.
News from Pretoria