With social media platforms being staples in everyone’s daily life, cyberbullying has become a phenomenon we have come to recognize as one of our daily problems, too. It is unfortunate that we have to come into terms with this increasingly common and constantly evolving problem; and even more unfortunate is the fact that many children and teens fall victim to it.
What the statistics say
The Cyberbullying Research Center found in a study that 32 percent of teens have been victims of some type of cyberbullying. Meanwhile, the National Crime Prevention Council puts it at 43 percent. A research revealed that the number of children who had been admitted to hospitals for attempted suicide doubled between 2008 and 2015.
Recent statistics also reveal that over 7 percent of middle school and high school students had a mean webpage created for them, and 20.1 percent reported that they have been affected by online rumors. Statistics also reveal that most cyberbullying occur on Facebook or through text messages.
What parents can do
Unfortunately, parents are often the last to know that their child has been cyberbullied – as children fear getting into more trouble if they say something. For this reason, parental guidance is key. Parents must be diligent in being on top of their children’s activities and experiences online. Below are a few pointers:
Build trust. Establish a trustful relationship within your family. This way, you can easily set limits and rules when it comes to their online activities. Explain the rationale behind each rule and have them contribute to the rules being set.
Learn the language. It is hard to monitor your child’s activities in social media sites if you do not know how to navigate them yourself. Familiarize yourself with the lingo and features of these platforms. Ask your children to show their social network profiles, as well.
Do not threaten to take away the electronics. If they turn to you about a problem they encountered online, do not take away gadget privileges as punishment. This can potentially push them to be more secretive. Respond to them calmly and show support and understanding. Do not, in any way, blame them for being bullied. Remember that your primary goal is to maintain open communication with your child.
Do not respond, but keep the paper trail. Advise your child not to respond to messages that annoy or harass them. Bullies feed on their targets being upset and distressed. However, tell them to keep these messages as they will be your official records on what the bully said, as well as the time and date they were sent. Advise them to block the sender so they don’t have to put up with their harasser any longer.
Ask for the school’s help. If the bully goes to the same school as your child, alert your school’s administrator and guidance counselor so they can keep an eye out.
Escalate to law enforcement. In case of threats of physical violence, do not hesitate to get authorities involved and seek a lawyer’s advice.
Is your child being harassed or bullied online? Contact us at Hogan Injury for a consultation.
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