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3 New Types of Cyberbullying to Watch For

This article isn’t an exhaustive catalogue of all things cyberbullying. For that, you can take a look at previous articles we’ve written on the topic or our online resource, PREVNet.

Instead, this is just a roundup of some of the newer types of cyberbullying out there, how to identify it, and how to prevent it. After all, bullying evolves constantly.

Minecraft Griefing

A griefer is a person who plays a video game with the object of ruining the game for everyone else. It’s annoying when it happens to adults, but when it happens to children it becomes bullying.

Minecraft is an extremely popular game amongst kids (which seems like the understatement of the century), and griefers will pretend to be game reviewers or other kids in order to trick kids into opening up their private servers. From there, griefers will destroy buildings, crash servers, and otherwise humiliate kids. The worst griefers will make videos of their actions, put them on YouTube, and start making money. Why is it possible to monetize the humiliation of little kids? Good question.

Tip: talk to your kids about keeping their servers private and help them understand you never really know if another person online is who they say they are.

Gory Kids Shows on YouTube

Maybe it’s time to rethink letting the kids surf YouTube to their hearts content. Plenty of kids have been tricked into clicking on clips featuring popular cartoon characters like Peppa Pig, only to be confronted with adults-only gory remakes of the cartoon. Some videos clearly say “Adults Only”, but others are labelled more generically, with titles like “Frozen Unboxing Surprise” in an effort to get clicks and views.

Tip: Use YouTube’s “restricted mode”. When surfing from a device, use the YouTube Kids app.

Racist Sites Pretending to Be Educational

If your child were to search for Martin Luther King in Google, they may come across a site aimed at students that claim King was a drunk, a philanderer, and a fraud. It even has a section of printouts, encouraging kids to “spread the truth” about King. We aren’t linking the site, but here’s a story about it. This particular fake MLK site was created by Stormfront, a white-supremacist organisation. Organisations like these like to target kids by creating these faux-educational webpages because kids can have poor media literacy.

Tip: It’s important to talk to kids about things like fake news and people who will lie on the internet to serve a broader agenda. Better yet, take your kids to your local library. Many libraries have digital literacy programs and can help your child learn how to do online research.

The Bottom Line

It’s important to keep in mind that the dangers we’ve talked about here aren’t common and the Internet isn’t a predominately dangerous place. The best way to address the dangers that do exist is to educate yourself, educate your child, and maintain open lines of communication.