Cyber-Bullying is an ever-increasing problem for kids and it’s having devastating consequences like suicide and self-harm. Yale University researchers, after reviewing studies done in 13 countries, found that victims of bullying were 2 to 9 times more likely to report suicidal thoughts than other children.
Some parents think cyber-bullying is just the online version of the bullying that happened at school when they were kids but cyber-bullying follows kids home from school. Between their cell phone and home computer kids can now be bullied 24/7 if front of thousands of kids online. Being harassed by one kid at school is bad enough but being harassed an embarrassed in front of your whole school online is something else entirely.
Parents, you need to know the risks your kids are facing in this area. Here are some stats you need to know:
- 43% of teens have been harassed online
- 90% of middle school students have had their feelings hurt online
- Girls are twice as likely as boys to be the victims of cyber-bullying and the perpetrators
- Teens using social networking sites are almost twice as likely to be victims of cyber-bullying than those that don’t
So how do you cut the Cyber-Bull?
First, you need to talk with your children about cyber-bullying (what it is and the dangers) and layout the rules for appropriate Internet usage.
Second, you need to start monitoring your kid’s online activities. You can do this in person just by being around and asking them what they’re doing online.
Third, look for potential warning signs (they’re withdrawn – are obsessed with their use of their computer or phone – are depressed) that could indicate your child is a victim or perpetrator of cyber-bullying. None of these are a silver bullet that will solve all cyber-bullying but it’s a place to start and an opportunity to engage with you kids.
A recent poll said that parents were not doing enough to prevent bullying. Maybe it’s because they didn’t know how. Well now you do so go engage with your kids and help “Cut the Bull” because prevention is better than therapy.