Insults on the Internet are becoming commonplace, as we have seen again with the hashtag 2010, targeting all children born that year. How do you help teens know where the bullying starts? What signs should alert him?
Emmanuelle Piquet : The first indicator is his suffering. Do these words hurt him or not? We must not forget that harassment is not only violent words but also malicious behavior against a person. This is also why I would not equate this hashtag 2010 story to harassment because the mockery was not directed at an individual. Being born in 2010 does not hurt, unlike being judged too fat, too thin or poorly dressed. I think it was especially the intervention of adults that added fuel to the fire.
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How can a teenager respond to these assaults? And can he do it alone?
EP : As long as the phenomenon has not grown too much, self-mockery is the best way to respond to the stalker because it shows him that we are not in pain. The adolescent must be helped to find resources within himself in order to be able to fight back. When he realizes that it is his suffering that encourages stalkers, he is able to do remarkable things. You still have to explain it to him. Most of the time, adults are primarily concerned with punishing stalkers, which is morally flawless, but very ineffective.
In case of cyberstalking, it is also important to take screenshots for proof, which is more complicated with physical harassment.
On the other hand, when the phenomenon becomes viral, it is necessary to contact the e-childhood association, which is a partner of all social networks, to quickly delete the accounts and possibly file a complaint. Sometimes things get out of hand on the Internet because teens are slow to tell parents about it for fear of being screened. Hence the importance of having a real relationship of trust with them on this subject.
And at school, should it be reported?
EP: Yes, as long as it is done with adults who will not implement actions with which the teenager will not agree, which unfortunately happens too often. It is essential to respect his request. If he does not want us to talk about it to the teachers or the headteacher, we must listen to him and find other solutions with him. Because the intervention of adults risks worsening the situation.
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Thus, a parent who goes to see the bully to tell him to stop attacking his child, it is a little as if he stuck a post-it on the latter’s forehead with the message “Without my child.” mother (or my father) I don’t know how to defend myself ”.
Are the psychological consequences of physical harassment and cyberstalking the same?
EP: We don’t have enough perspective yet, but cyberstalking seems more problematic to me as insults can stay on social media and be seen at all times. This digital memory makes this type of harassment even more painful, because the child is never at peace.
However, this change in intensity does not change the nature of the harassment, the consequences of which are well known in the short and medium term. Studies show that young people who do not make it by drawing on their own resources have a harder time as adults to find a job, to enter into a relationship, to create a family and are more prone to depression. . Harassment not only undermines their self-confidence, but it also destroys that of others.