Hello again, Parents and Gamers!
All in all, the day has been utterly slow; much like the rest of the week has been. However, rather than just providing you with yet another article of "The Not-So-News", we decided that we might use this off-time constructively. We would like to provide a couple of tips to help you and your little gamer deal with "Cyber Bullying". This is a collection of information from pieces that we have read and some personal experience that I have had while online. Let's take a look.
The internet is a remarkable tool that has had an amazing effect on the world we live in today. Whether it's the ability to play a game with a friend in another state, look up information on just about any topic, share pictures and stories with friends in another country, or just have a nice conversation with someone you've never met, it's all made possible through the internet.
Sadly, this same technology has also garnered up a number of different problems. One of these problems is something referred to as "Cyber Bullying" which, as the name suggests, is a form of bullying that takes place using the internet as a tool. While there are a number of ways that this can occur, whether it be through e-mail, chatrooms, etc., we would like to address how it can occur through video games.
A good number of games these days off internet and online multiplayer services. On a regular day, these services help make these games a fun thing to enjoy by allowing players to engage in battles, competition, cooperation, and more with friends and strangers through the internet. Likewise, these services often offer players the ability to talk to each other using voice-microphones or chat via text message. Sadly, these services can be abused by people with malicious intention.
Cyber Bullies can be people of any age and any background, however it is certainly more common from younger players. Most often, these individuals are seeking attention of some variety, or they think it's funny. Whether it's attention from the person they are bullying or attention from those in the game, a cyber bully will often berate or belittle another player to help get a rise out of those around them. Luckily, there are ways to help deal with the problems surrounding these people.
- Believe in the power of the "Mute" Button
- Generally the easiest means of dealing with an abrasive individual. A large majority of games offer players the ability to either "Mute" another player so that they are not forced to hear what the other person has to say. This option is usually available in the menu under the list of players.
- Ban the Offender
- This is usually a bit harder to do since many "ban" options will require the agreement of the majority of players. If a bully is "playing to a crowd", they are less likely to get banned for their transgressions. However, if the individual is just generally offensive to everyone, this can work. Banning, as you might have guessed, will kick the offensive player from the game. This option is very often available in the menu under the list of players.
- Leave the Game
- While it's never fun to have to leave the game because someone else is being mean, sometimes it's the better choice. In the instance you or your child is playing a game and someone or a group of someones is just being blatantly offensive, there is no need to deal with it. There are normally hundreds if not thousands of other games going on at the same time. Simply leave the one you are playing and join a new one. It might set you back a little, but at least you can enjoy it better.
- Do not reciprocate their actions
- Bullies are looking to get a rise out of you. The worst thing you could possibly do is get angry or mean back to them; this means that they won. If a bully can goad a player into screaming/yelling/crying/etc, it will only inspire them to push you more. Likewise, cyber bullying back does not solve the issue, it makes it worse.
- Report the Player
- Reporting is more something you should do after you initially deal with the bullying. Most game services will offer you the ability to file a report through the game about player misconduct; this includes cyber bullying. Make sure that, no matter how you handle it, you file a report so that the game's authorities can handle this individual in the future.
- Ignore Them / Block Them
- Some games allow players to contact each other outside of the gameplay itself. Whether it's through text-message/voice message/whatever, its best to just ignore the individual. Most often, a cyber bully will attempt to goad and coax a player into responding with threats and mean words. If this happens, simply forward the threat to the game's authorities and, for our younger players, make sure that you don't delete the messages right away. Show them to your parents so that you can work together to solve this problem.
- Keep an Open line of Communication
- Make sure that you and your little gamers keep an open line of communication. Encourage them to talk to you about problems they might have. While this is normally helpful in real situations, its also helpful in cyber-situations. Even if you aren't the most tech-savvy individual, it's never hard to figure out how to handle the situation. Many children might be worried that they would be tattling if they talk to an adult. Assure them that they are not and teach them that there is a difference between tattling and reporting an issue. A problem can't be solved if no one knows about it.
- Don't share personal information
- This one is a given with almost any situation on the internet, however it bares repeating. You never, ever want to share your personal information with someone over the internet unless you know them personally. Even if you feel comfortable with them, you must always side with caution. Sharing your personal address and telephone number can prompt further bullying through personal avenues.
- Likewise, keep in mind that video game authorities are able to access your internet passwords and account information. A game authority will never ask you for your account information and, if someone does while claiming that they are a game authority, do not give it to them. Most likely it is an individual falsely impersonating an authority.
Hopefully these little tips will be able to help you out. Of course, if you have any additional questions or would like additional information, simply click on one of the links below to read further or shoot us an e-mail and we will help you out to the best of our abilities. While we cannot claim to be a licensed authority on this matter, we feel that these tips will help you and your little gamer deal with cyber bullying.
Parents can prevent Cyberbullying - PTA.org
Top 6 ways to help your LD Child avoid Cyberbullying - About.com
How to stop cyberbullying - SafeKids.com
How to avoid cyber bullying - SurfNetKids.com
Stop Cyberbullying - Stopcyberbullying.org
Cyberbullying - NCPC.org
Tips to stop Cyberbullying - SafeTeens.com
Top 10 ways to prevent Cyberbullying - SpeedBrake.com
And that's it for the day! We would like to thank you for stopping by and encourage you to join us again tomorrow for another issue of The News. As always, if you have any questions, we want you to ask them! Simply shoot us an e-mail at the address provided or leave it in the comment section below and we will get back to you as quickly as we can. Thanks again and we hope you have a wonderful day!