Bullying takes on many forms in today’s world, and electronic bullying, also known as cyber bullying, is one of the most hurtful of its ways. Bullying isn’t fair, and even more so when it occurs online. Mean comments on pictures and status updates can really hurt the self-esteem of younger kids and teenagers. More often than we’d like, we read stories about kids contemplating or even attempting suicide as a result of negative online interactions.
Despite the seriousness of electronic bullying and the effect it can have on children, it’s still a form of harassment that exists abundantly. Our article Online Bullying Statistics reveals some alarming numbers, including:
- Roughly 43% of students have been bullied online at some point.
- 68% of teens believe online bullying represents a major problem.
- Victims of bullying are 2 to 9 times more likely to attempt suicide.
- Roughly 25% of students believe that adults will intervene on these issues, which means the majority don’t tell their parents when bullying occurs.
Communication isn’t something that teenagers are known for, especially with their parents. While kids have a responsibility to tell their parents when they’re getting harassed, parents also need to make sure they’re paying as much attention as possible to their children in order to help them when things go wrong.
This page on Bullyingstatistics.org offers a useful list of advice to parents and teens in order to help reduce electronic and cyber bullying, and this advice includes:
- Talk to your kids about cyber bullying. Make sure they know it’s wrong, and that they can talk to you whenever they need too.
- Tell your kids to keep any hurtful messages they receive as proof. If the messages are threatening or sexual in nature, showing them to the police is a recommended course of action.
- For kids, try and block the person sending messages. You don’t need that kind of negativity in your life.
- Never share personal information online with anyone. They can use it as a means to harass you, hack your accounts, and otherwise defame and bully you.
- For parents, keep the computers in a public room in the house, and try to limit kids’ access to the internet in their rooms. With smart phones, this is hard, but it will make a difference if electronic bullying is occurring.
- For parents, encourage your kids to have time where they shut off their phones and don’t access the internet.
Being aware of electronic bullying is important, but what might be even more important is learning how to prevent bullying. Prevention is possible, and can be more effective in helping your kids deal with any form of bullying, be it online or in person.
Awareness is Key
Family education plays a big part in preventing bullying. Teaching children from a very early age about the harmful and terrible effects bullying can have on others is critical, and our article Teaching Empathy – Encouraging Appropriate Behavior talks about this in more detail.
Some children come from homes where bullying is sadly the norm, and in that case, community education and awareness of bullying is needed. This may sound like a rather large undertaking, but putting in the time and effort to educate not only your family, but those around you as well, on how bullying can affect the community is a worthwhile endeavor.
Stopbullying.gov is a government-led initiative that offers some very useful tips on how to help your kids become more aware of electronic bullying and how to stop it. By sharing these tips on social media, you can play a huge part in stopping bullying in your community.
Some of these tips include encouraging your kids to think about who they want to see certain things they post online, being smart about what they post or say, and making sure your children understand limits.
What to do When Bullying Occurs
Reporting cyber bullying instances and raising awareness of just how often electronic bullying takes place is critical if this society will ever be able to get a handle on the matter. Our article Learn How to Report Cyber Bullying explains different methods you can use to report cyber bullying, and they include:
- Reporting to social media sites
- Reporting to website moderators
- Reporting to internet service providers
- Reporting to law enforcement
These may seem like simple steps, and indeed they are. Simple things are all that’s needed in order to help cyber bullying become a thing of the past. The important thing to remember is that, when electronic bullying takes a sexual or violent turn, those are actually criminal offenses and are treated as such by law enforcement.
Too often, people don’t report sexual or violent threats they receive because they feel as if they are somehow at fault. These feelings, while not true in the slightest, are sadly very prevalent among victims of bullying. As a parent, you can help your children know that they can and should come to you for anything. As a child, you need to know that you can report anything to your parents.
Simple harassment, while negative, isn’t a criminal offense and shouldn’t be treated as such, but these instance are still serious. They don’t require law enforcement’s help; contacting the offender’s parents is usually the quickest and most effective way to end simple harassment and bullying that’s nonviolent and sexual.
While defeating cyber bullying may seem like a large task, it is one that can be accomplished if we band together as a community. Also, to any kids out there – please speak up when you’re being bullied electronically. Your voice adds power to the fight and raises awareness to others that this type of behavior is just not permissible in today’s society. Cyber bullying can easily be stopped, but it requires the collective efforts of everyone out there, whether they have been affected by it or not.