From an early age we teach our children how to protect themselves against the playground bully; tell an adult, walk away from the situation, don’t retaliate, is the most common advice they have been given.
In today’s digital world, our children face a new type of bully, one who uses cell phones, email, social media or other digital means to target our children. They are known as the Cyber Bully.
Facts and Figures About Cyber Bullying
- 52 percent of young people report being cyber bullied
- 25 percent of teenagers report being repeatedly bullied via their cell phone or on the internet
- 55 percent of teens have witnessed social media being used as a bullying medium.
- 58 percent of young people admit someone has said mean or hurtful things to them online.
- Only 1 in 10 victims will inform a parent or trusted adult that they are being bullied.
Steps Parents Take to Help Reduce the Chances Their Child Becomes a Victim of Cyber Bullying?
- Monitor your child’s digital world.
- Know who your child is communicating with online.
- Remind your child to not post personal information online, i.e. full name, home address, telephone number, or the name of the school or sports team.
- Keep your home computer in a central location.
- Limit the time your child spends online.
- Encourage your child to be a good digital citizen while online.
- Tell your child to “walk away” or exit a website that makes them feel uncomfortable.
How Do You Know Your Child is Being Bullied? Remember, only 1 in 10 victims will tell an adult. You need to know the warning signs.
5 Warning Signs to Look For
- Does your child seem withdrawn?
- Have they experienced a loss of appetite?
- Do they show a dislike or fear of going to school?
- Have they come home with missing or damaged personal property?
- Has their attitude changed, do they seem sad or depressed?
If you suspect your child is being cyber bullied, talk to your child! Keep the lines of communication open. Let your child know it is not their fault.
Get the whole story; sometimes it is a matter of perspective. Work with your child to help them find a solution. Have they asked the person to stop?
If the situation is occurring at school, what is the school policy? If the cyber bullying is occurring via social media, report the incident to the social media site.
To learn more about cyber bulling please visit these websites provide:
ConnectSafely – www.connectsafely.org (Free Parent Guide on Cyber Bullying).
StopBullying – http://www.stopbullying.gov/cyberbullying/index.html
FBI – www.fbi.gov
Written by LaDonna Conner