Cyberbullying is a reality all parents must face. Is your child safe?
You might be surprised to learn more than 59% of US teenagers claim they’ve experienced online bullying or harassment. More than half is way too many.
Preventing it takes vigilance, awareness, and knowledge. Here are the facts so you can better protect the ones you love.
Of course you want to keep them safe. Your sole existence feels wrapped up in providing quality of life. But what you can’t see – the times when they’re at school, the park, their room, on the school bus – are where it happens.
Cyberbullying is the targeted sending, posting, or sharing of harmful, falsified, and malicious content about someone else. It includes sharing personal or private information for the sake of embarrassment or humiliation.
Typical offenders are one or several juveniles, though there have been noteworthy cases of parents cyberbullying children as well.
How is it done? Here are the most common cyberbullying tactics, according to US government website stopbullying.gov
So, keep your eyes and ears open for any of the above. Some things your child may explain away as nothing may not be so harmless. What’s most concerning about cyberbullying is it can be:
Fortunately, cyberbullying is a crime, and it’s earning the appropriate attention. With each new case comes new laws and sanctions on the federal and local levels. Schools now include it in their anti-bullying programs as well.
Yes, awareness is growing. That’s the good news. But that doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll know it when you see it. At least not until it’s affecting your child. There are certain warning signs cyberbullying experts say you should look our for:
Keep in mind, not all cyberbullied kids display these signs, and they may reflect other issues in their lives. Take the time to investigate further if you see any of these red flags.
The most common places where cyberbullying occurs are:
So, if your child has access to any or all of these channels, it’s a very good idea to get their passwords and check in from time to time. They need to know all online actions have consequences – especially online where senders may be anonymous. And, they also need to be aware of the harm that can be done. Set your boundaries early and often.
Do You Suspect Your Child is Being Cyberbullied?
The internet, like all good things, can attract the sort of people with less-than-good intentions. Luckily, there are countless resources you can turn to for help. If you suspect someone you know is being victimized, please don’t hesitate to act. Here is a great set of cyberbullying resources for you to follow.
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