If you have a child that uses the Internet you are not alone. In fact, the National Center for Education Statistics reports that around 90 percent of children between the ages of 5 and 17 use computers, with nearly 60 percent going online. One of the issues that has come out of this new technological twist is cyberbullying. It’s something that is impacting millions of children and an issue that every parent should be aware exists.
Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place through electronic forms, particularly through the computer. It can include a variety of incidents, including someone pretending to be somebody else, spreading lies and rumors, tricking others, sending or forwarding mean messages, and posting unwanted photos of someone. There have been numerous news reports of kids who have been cyberbullied, even to the point of them committing suicide because of the emotional toll it took on them.
The more parents know about cyberbullying, the better position they will be in to help their child avoid becoming a victim of it. Here are 5 things every parent should know about cyberbullying:
- According to the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI), one out of every 11 kids has been a victim of cyberbullying in America. There may even be more incidents of it that have went unreported or have not been accounted for in surveys.
- Cyberbullying is just as serious as the type of bullying that takes place on school campuses. Just because it is done in a virtual manner does not mean that it isn’t harmful. It causes kids psychological stress that can lead to anxiety, depression, low self esteem, and even suicide. Cyberbullying should always be taken seriously and addressed.
- People can engage in cyberbullying in a variety of manners, including on social media sites, such as Facebook, through sending text messages and emails, posting videos, and more. Kids can be clever in the way they choose to spread rumors about others.
- Kids need to know what to do if they encounter cyberbullying. Parents should speak to them about what cyberbullying is and give them advice on how to handle it. Good options including blocking those who cyberbully them, telling the bully to stop, and reporting it to an adult so that it can be further addressed. Bullying of a threatening nature should be reported to the authorities.
- The cyberbully is someone’s child and may even be yours. Whether your child is the cyberbully or is the victim, parents can get a clear snapshot of this by monitoring their computer, using monitoring software. This will help them learn more about what is going on and how to address the situation.
Bullying is an issue that is a hot topic across school campuses around the country. Cyberbullying may be a newer form of it, but it is one that is every bit as serious. The more parents know about it, and what to do about it, the more they can help keep their children safe when they enter the cyber world.