When parents think of bullying, they may picture jocks stealing lunch money or stereotypical mean girls spreading rumors in the school library. But thanks to social media and the digital age, kids today are faced with a more aggressive and constant form of bullying their parents could have never imagined.
Cyberbullying, or the use of electronic communication to send cruel or threatening messages, has become rampant. All too often, cyberbullying ends in disaster. As kids start to go back to school, here’s what parents need to know about cyberbullying.
The most difficult part about addressing cyberbullying is that the attacks are invisible. Cyberbullies thrive in cyberspace, using social media to spread hateful messages about their target to the world or sending cruel messages directly to their victims over texts, emails, or instant messages. Children and teens often tried to hide cyberbullying from their families, but the signs are there. It is so important that parents be made aware of the situation before the bullying escalates.
If you suspect your child is being cyberbullied, don’t brush it off as something that’s not a big deal or wait for them to come to you. Elementary school children have committed suicide due to the trauma of cyberbullying. This is a serious threat to a child’s life, and all parents should take the time to learn how to appropriately address cyberbullying when it happens.
What are parents supposed to do when they find out their child is bullying someone online? This is an unpleasant topic. When confronted with the information, many parents can become defensive, insulted, and deny the situation altogether. But just as it is important for parents to protect their child from cyberbullies, it’s equally important for parents to protect their children from themselves and the repercussions of bad decisions. The Cyberbullying Research Center offers advice to help parents who find themselves in this difficult situation.
It can be difficult to talk to kids about cyberbullying, especially if they shut down when they feel a “talk” coming on. Let these powerful movies about bullying start the conversation for you.
To eradicating cyberbullying.