Today, almost every aspect of our lives has “gone digital”
making face-to-face communication the exception rather than the
norm. This is even more of a reality in the lives of our
children and teenagers whose homework assignments, report
cards, and social interactions all increasingly have a digital
or online component.
There are certainly benefits to this new digital age.
Communication is far easier than it was a generation ago.
Unfortunately there are also disadvantages. This ease of
communication has also helped move bullying beyond
harassment at school or on the playground and into cyberspace.
This should come as no surprise since bullying tends to occur
where teens congregate, and today, two-thirds of
teenagers go online daily to do school work, connect with
friends and read about their favorite
Facts about Cyberbullying:
- In a 2006 study, one in three online teens reported
experiencing a range of cyberbullying activities, including
“receiving threatening messages; having their private emails or
text messages forwarded without consent; having an embarrassing
picture posted without permission; or having rumors about them
- In more recent research, where cyberbullying was defined
broadly 2 , one in five students 11-18
years old said that they had been cyberbullied; but
interestingly, the same percentage admitted to cyberbullying
someone at least once in the past. 3
For the most part, cyberbullying is defined by
the same characteristics as other bullying. There are
some significant differences, though, that deserve mention.
Characteristics of Cyberbullying:
- First, cyberbullying can be anonymous: youth who are being
cyberbullied may not even know who the bully is, or
specifically why they are being targeted.
- Second, the impact of cyberbullying can be wider-reaching
than bullying done in person. The speed and breadth of the
internet have permitted groups of youth to create websites just
to make fun of other young people, to impersonate other teens
on social media sites, and to circulate embarrassing photos,
all within a matter of minutes.
- Finally, cyberbullies can be teens who might not otherwise
have engaged in bullying behaviors. It is often easier to be
cruel when the bully is sheltered from their target’s responses
which can over time include devastating consequences such as
withdrawal from family and friends, depression,
diminished performance in school and in the most severe cases,
self-harming behavior and even suicide.
Today’s national media coverage of bullying often focuses on
cases that come to an extreme and tragic end, with parents,
schools and entire communities weighing in to express strong
opinions about how to “deal with” the bullies, and wondering
what, if anything could have been done to protect the “victim.”
And even more often, parents and teachers and the community
express surprise at the ordinariness of the youth who engaged
in bullying behavior, and how unlikely it seemed that they
would be involved in something so terrible.
Helping Kids Rise above Cyberbullying
Current research 4 shows that approaches
to help prevent bullying behavior are essentially the same as
those that will help youth withstand harassment. These
approaches – which are closely linked to the Search
Institute Developmental Assets, and include building strong
and positive ties to family, peers and community, and fostering
the values of empowerment and self-control, among others – seem
to tell us that the needs of youth who react most dramatically
to bullying, and those engaging in bullying behavior may in
fact be the same.
Research shows that raising kids to be resilient can lead them
to avoid more types of risky behaviors, including
Action Steps: If
you suspect your child is being cyberbullied >>
Action Steps: If
you suspect your child is cyberbullying others >>
Taken from http://www.parentfurther.com/high-risk-behaviors/bullying/definition