October is National #BullyingPreventionMonth and while you cannot always protect your children from becoming a bully or being bullied - it is important to take all precautions as a parent as much as possible. We all know that anyone can be bullied for their clothing, lack of technology, being different, their identity, and being the outcast; however, this does not make it okay.
What Is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place online and over social media applications like Facebook, chat rooms, video games, and Twitter. Cyberbullying includes sending posting or sharing negative and harmful or mean content about others. This can include a number of different issues such as: posting personal information, secrets someone told you, and embarrassment or humiliation content.
Cyber bullying typically occurs occurs on:
- Social Media sites like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat;
- SMS which is text-messaging;
- Instant messaging; and in
- Emails, although this is less likely to occur with younger generations.
Despite the dangers of cyberbullying over half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online, and about the same number have engaged in cyberbullying.
What Are Some Examples Of Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying can be hard to identify with your child and between other children. It is important to know when this is occurring and why it is occurring.
- Nude Photo Sharing: A girl sends a picture of herself to a guy she likes in the class. When it doesn’t work out he shares the photos with the other classmates; the classmates start to call her awful names and circulate the photos to other students.
- Encouraging Self-Harm Or Suicide: A group of girls target another girl in the class. They send her text messages of why she should kill herself and that nobody loves or likes her. A common saying between teens in text messages is, “kys.” This means, “kill yourself.”
- Jealousy: This is often a common reason for bullying and cyberbullying.
- Bullied For Their Identity And Sexual Orientation: A student in class who looks or speaks different will often become bullied. This is because they are different from everyone else. Furthermore, if a student comes out as part of the LGBTQ+ community they will become a victim of bullying.
How Can You Prevent Cyberbullying?
It is hard to prevent cyberbullying 100 percent since it is all online and through social media and cellphones. Parents, educators and other adults need to be aware of what is going on with their students, teens and their friends. The best way to prevent cyberbullying is to tackle it the moment it starts.
Sometimes, parents find that their children are the bullies and don’t know how to handle the situation. It is important to know your child(ren) can be a bully for a number of different reasons; however, this does not mean they are terrible child or you’re a terrible parent. It is important to do the follow steps:
- Contact the teacher or parents.
- Seek help from a guidance counselor or other parents.
- Be aware of your teens internet and social media application interactions.
- Provide consequences and insight on how to change their behavior.
As a parent or educator, it is important to know as much as possible about new social media apps. This will help you to understand how cyber bullying happens on these sites and how to stop it as soon as possible.
How Bad Can Cyberbullying Really Get?
Cyberbullying can lead to devastating consequences and sometimes suicide. Recently, three teens in Cleveland County, North Carolina, were charged with cyberbullying. Furthermore, we often hear in the news about a teen taking their life because of cyber bullying. The examples listed above each have their own consequences involved with each scenario and very extreme ones.
At Smart Girl Society, we help parents, educators, and teens navigate social media. We want teens to stay safe and parents to help their teens stay safe. If you have any concerns or questions, please contact us today!