A large part of children’s and young people’s communication takes place digitally. They chat with each other, share pictures and follow each other on social media channels. This can also lead to unpleasant experiences. Above a certain level, this is digital violence, which can even be punishable by law.
Online violence can look different. Perpetrators are usually concerned with deliberately insulting, discriminating against or devaluing a person. For example, they post private pictures or write nasty comments. Such assaults happen wherever young people are online. One well-known form is cyberbullying. Violence from the analog world can also be continued digitally and thus becomes borderless. Anonymity lowers the inhibition threshold and compassion. It also makes it more difficult to identify and hold perpetrators accountable.
Digital violence is very stressful, especially psychologically, and can have severe consequences. Sufferers often suffer from anxiety, emotional stress and low self-esteem. They no longer feel safe and are afraid that the threats on the net will spread to the analog environment. Young women and girls are particularly frequent targets of digital assaults. Leaving the platform or blocking certain people may help, but the damage is often already done to the victims.
Digital violence manifests itself in very different ways and can take on different dimensions. Children and young people are particularly exposed to certain forms of online violence:
Some rules of conduct can increase your child’s safety on the Internet:
It is especially important that you talk to your child about possible risks and dangers and show interest. Regularly inquire about the people your child has digital contact with and the websites he or she visits.
Not all young people turn to their parents when they have problems, because they are afraid of punishment and lack of understanding. Talk to your child about it and make them aware of sites they can turn too, such as Juuuport. Children find it difficult to cope with the psychological stress and consequences of digital violence. So it’s important for your child to get help from adults if he or she is a victim of digital violence. This can also be accessed through counseling centers.
Online violence is not a trivial offense, but depending on the form it takes (e.g., insults, defamation, and threats), it may even be punishable by law. Therefore, you should definitely document the incidents, e.g. by taking screenshots, and go to the police with them.
Online violence should be reported to the police! In addition, you will get support at these places: