The Effects of Cyberbullying

Young Female Using Smart Phone

The following information was taken from a Screenagers Tech Talk Tuesday Emailing.

Cyberbullying is a big concern for parents and kids alike. But defining it, and helping children and teens understand exactly what it means is challenging.

The definition of bullying from StopBullying.gov is:

“Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.

In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:

  • An Imbalance of Power: Kids who bully use their power—such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity—to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.
  • Repetition: Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once. Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time.”

Children and teens either don’t recognize cyberbullying, or are often afraid, or unaware of how to stop it. Even if they see or hear about one incident that wouldn’t be considered, by definition, bullying. However, today’s technology allows for “one time” incidents to escalate quickly, and it can quickly turn into cyberbullying. The developing brain and lack of impulse control, etc. also can exasperate the problem.

Here are some things to discuss with your child/teen about cyberbullying and how we can put an end to this terrible trend:

  • How do you define cyberbullying? Parents, then share your definition.
  • Have you ever been bullied? What about cyberbullied?
  • Do you think parents are overly worried about cyberbullying?
  • Can you be cyberbullied via text, or just on social media?
  • What do you do when someone says something mean online about someone else? How about when someone says something mean about you?
  • Who are some trusted adults you can talk to about cyberbullying?

This is an increasingly pervasive problem that we need to work together to help solve. That starts with conversations and helping children and teens alike understand the dire, long-term consequences that can be involved. If you believe your child is struggling with cyberbullying and needs help dealing with it, call TAG Counseling (678-297-0708) for a consultation.

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