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Although many modern parents have heard the term “cyberbullying” numerous times, a significant percentage of them aren’t really aware of what the term actually means. This is particularly true of those who aren’t very tuned in to the Internet and don’t use social media for much beyond occasional postings of vacation photographs. Because most teens and children use electronics for communication purposes and are strong users of social media, the percentage of cyberbullying among this demographic has skyrocketed in recent years.
The different elements that comprise cyber bullying can be difficult to pinpoint, but most people agree that they know it when they see it. Following are a few of the common forms that cyberbullying can take:
Because many children will attempt to hide cyberbullying from their parents, it frequently goes undetected. However, modern parents need to be vigilant about keeping a close eye out for this because the potential for damage is extremely high. Recent news reports show that teen suicide rates are increasing at an alarming speed and that cyberbullying is of the major common denominators.
Cyberbullying isn’t just occurring on social media, however. Because most teens actually use mobile phones as their primary means of communication, cell phones are the most widely used electronic device in cyberbullying. Cyberbullies are more likely to use texting to bully their victims than talking.
Parents should definitely keep in mind that roughly half of all young people have experienced cyberbullying in some form. Girls are just as likely as boys to be the perpetrators of cyberbullying and more likely to be victims. Children of all races are just as likely to be involved as others, and socioeconomic status seems to have no bearing on th percentage of cyberbullying among specific social groups of teens and children.
Adolescents have traditionally been tough on one another socially, but the advent of electronic media and communication devises has added an impersonal element that makes the edge much sharper. While bullies used to be limited to face-to-face encounters with their victims, they can now torment others from the privacy and relative safety of their own homes. The impersonal aspect of electronic communications probably causes those who normally wouldn’t engage in bullying to follow along with their friends in tormenting chosen victims. Just like in traditional bullying, on of the hallmarks of cyberbullying is that there is generally one or two major ringleaders and several followers. Unfortunately, mobile phones and the Internet have increased the possible numbers of followers exponentially.
Unfortunately, studies have shown that only one in 10 victims of cyberbullying will willingly initiate discussion of the situation with their parents. Consequently, it is imperative that parents keep an eye out for signs and symptoms that cyberbullying may be occurring in the lives of their children. Some signs are withdrawal from social activities, reluctance to attend school functions, depression, failing grades, and unexplained outbursts of anger or sadness. Children and teens who are victims of bullying are more likely than their peers to commit suicide, so it’s important that the matter not be treated lightly should parents discover that their child is being bullied.
However, even though parents have become increasingly aware of the problem of cyberbullying, most of them are only looking out for signs that their child may be a victim. Parents would be well advised to keep their ears to the ground for signs that their children are involved in bullying others. All too often, parents whose children are found to be involved in bullying their classmates are either unaware of the situation or don’t believe that it’s of any importance. In some cases, parents have even denied that their children have done anything wrong.
Talking with children and teens about bullying is an important part of minimizes the chances of and the Percentage of Cyberbullying occurring in a child’s life.