More children than ever now have access to the internet, and more of these children are experiencing cyberbullying. Find out more about it and how you can protect your child here.
Cyberbullying is online behavior that intends to embarrass, harass, threaten, mock, or mistreat a peer. Examples of cyberbullying include sending mean text messages or email, spreading rumors in a chat room or forum, posting pictures without permission, sharing another’s personal information without consent, and far more.
Victims of cyberbullying are more likely to miss school, abuse drugs and alcohol, have low self-esteem, and earn low grades. With more and more kids and teens accessing the internet and social media sites, cyberbullying is becoming more common.
Check out these four facts about cyberbullying and find out how to protect your child.
In a recent study of 12- to 17-year-olds, 30.7% of male students and 36.3% of female students reported that they had been bullied online, and more than half reported that they had been bullied within the last month.
Cyberbullying doesn’t only happen at school or when a bully and a victim are face-to-face. Cyberbullying can happen any time of the day or night, and when the victim is alone. Because messages, photos, and information can be shared online anytime, cyberbullying is impossible to walk away from and often impossible to ignore.
Information can be shared online by multiple users within seconds. This is sometimes referred to as going viral. Because it’s so easy for information to be shared and to move from site to site, it is often impossible to trace where the information came from in the first place. And, since deleting the information in one place doesn’t affect how it appears in other places, removing it entirely is also often not possible.
Many kids and teens don’t report cyberbullying because they fear that they will no longer be allowed to go online. But you can play a big part in protecting your child from cyberbullying.
Know where your child goes online and who he or she talks to. Ask your child about favorite sites and friends. If a situation seems unsafe, find out more about it.
Make rules about what your child can and can’t do online. Explain to your child the importance of:
Many schools have policies about bullying. Know your child’s school’s anti-bullying policy and what to do if bullying happens.
Bullying can lead to anxiety, depression, and self-harm. Find out how to spot the signs of depression in kids and teens here. If you believe a child is suicidal or in danger of harming him or herself, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK.
Children who are bullied online are more likely to be bullied in person. Go here to learn more about how to protect your child from bullying.
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“Cyberbullying,” KidsHealth.org. June 2014.
“Cyberbullying by Gender,” Cyberbullying Research Center. October 10, 2016.
“Internet Safety,” KidsHealth.org. January 2015.
“Technology and Youth: Protecting your Child from Electronic Aggression Tip Sheet,” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed January 19, 2017.
“What is Cyberbullying?” StopBullying.gov. Accessed January 19, 2017.