Part four of a four part series
(Related read: Physical Bullying)
The statistics are startling. According to StopBullying.gov, kids who have been exposed to a cyber bully are more likely to:
- Use alcohol and drugs
- Skip school
- Experience in-person bullying
- Be unwilling to attend school
- Receive poor grades
- Have lower self-esteem
- Have more health problems
What exactly is cyber bullying? Cyber bullying is bullying that takes place using electronic technology. Electronic technology includes devices and equipment such as cell phones, computers, and tablets as well as communication tools including social media sites, text messages, chat, and websites.
In the 2010-2011 School Crime Supplement (National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics) a report shows that 9% of students in grades 6–12 experienced cyber bullying and the 2013 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey found that 15% of high school students (grades 9-12) were electronically bullied in the past year.
Parents need to take a proactive approach; a child is very unlikely to tell a parent what is going on due to fear, threats, or other implications from the child who bullied. So, what are some simple strategies you can take to avoid cyber bullying?
Talk with your kids about cyber bullying and other online issues regularly.
- Know the sites your kids visit and their online activities. Ask where they’re going, what they’re doing, and who they’re doing it with.
- Tell your kids that as a responsible parent you may review their online communications if you think there is reason for concern. Installing parental control filtering software or monitoring programs are one option for monitoring your child’s online behavior, but do not rely solely on these tools.
- Have a sense of what they do online and in texts. Learn about the sites they like. Try out the devices they use.
- Ask for their passwords, but tell them you’ll only use them in case of emergency.
- Ask to “friend” or “follow” your kids on social media sites or ask another trusted adult to do so.
- Encourage your kids to tell you immediately if they, or someone they know, is being cyberbullied. Explain that you will not take away their computers or cell phones if they confide in you about a problem they are having.
Related read: Indirect Bullying
Have you or someone you know been the target of bully behavior? Send us a note; we’d love to hear from you and how you handled the situation.
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