Talk to your kids about cyberbullying!
Before technology, bullying typically occurred at school and in your local neighborhoods. However, today children, teens, and young adults have access to phones, computers, tablets, and other devices that connect them to the internet 24/7. This constant access to the internet has created a new realm for bullies known as cyber-bullying, causing victims to experience depression, anger, humiliation, and even suicidal thoughts.
Cyber-bullying occurs when someone or groups of individuals use online communication to harass, humiliate, and threaten someone else. Before handheld technology was widely available, bullies taunted their victims in person. The victims were usually smaller than their bullies in size and strength, but today, if an internet connection is available, cyber bullies target anyone regardless of their physical or mental attributes. Unlike a traditional bully, you may not even know their identity due to the anonymity of the internet. Unfortunately, cyber-bullies can target and torment others every hour of the day because the internet is an endless connection of technology.
- Tell your children they do not have to accept any online activity meant to intimidate, threaten, tease, or harm them or anyone else. Remind them that giving bullies attention is exactly what they want, so ignore them as much as possible.
- Tell them not to erase or delete messages from cyberbullies. Your children do not have to read the messages they receive from bullies, but they (or you) need to keep messages as evidence. To report cyberbullying, it is important to save as much information as possible. The more you save, the easier it will be to track down the people that are bothering your child. (Save the e-mail, e-mail address, date and time received, copies of all relevant e-mails, screenshots, etc.).
Cyberbullying Effects: Resources & Links