The advancement of modern technology has brought us some great things—Smartphones, social media, streaming video services—and many other things our great-grandparents could only dream of. Unfortunately, these advancements also have their downside.
Cyberbullying, for example, is a rather new but prevalent side effect of the Information Age. Nearly 1 in 3 kids say that they’ve experienced cyberbullying, according to an article by PBS.
Other sources have slightly more modest findings. The American Society for the Positive Care of Children (ASPCC) reports that 28 percent of children aged 12-18 experienced bullying of any sort, according to a 2013 study.
Regardless, the effects of cyberbullying are real and can be devastating. A 2010 article published by The Independent found that half of the suicides among children between the ages of 10-14 are due to bullying. Four of the documented instances included cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying (according to the National Crime Prevention Council) is when a person (child or adult) utilizes technology to harass another person. Examples of this include sending threatening emails or text messages, sharing personal information, or pretending to be the victim to slander them. Some go as far as to devote websites to making fun of the bullying victim. What is devastating about cyberbullying is that it can happen at anytime, anywhere and in any place. So rather than get away from the bully on the school yard, it can follow your child into their home and private lives.
On top of that, if you and your child have recently moved to a new city or town, this doesn’t make things any easier. According to an article published by Psychology Today, children who have recently moved tend to exhibit poor performance in school and risky behavior, such as the abuse of drugs and alcohol. Not having a group of friends or social network to help your child can increase the chances of potential bullying, be it online or in person. Read on here for twelve ways to help your child handle the emotional challenges of moving.
Cyberbullying can be prevented or dealt with a number of ways. The most important thing is to have clear and honest communication with your child so that they feel comfortable talking with you openly if they are being bullied or harassed. Much of the time, victims of bullying feel embarrassed and ashamed. If you don’t know what is going on with your child, there is no way to help them.
Fortunately, cyberbullying utilizes technology which can be modified to filter unwanted content. If your child is being bullied, have them block the bully on social media and other communication services. Be sure to save all threatening or hurtful correspondence and send it to your Internet service provider so that the issue can be addressed. If the issue gets out of hand, you can also use the documented correspondence as proof of harassment in court. Remind your child not to respond to bullies online, as this generally only makes things worse.
Make sure you understand your child’s habits online, and communicate about what is acceptable and unacceptable over the Internet. Educate them on cyberbullying, and have them understand the power of the Internet before they use it.
It can also be helpful to understand your child’s habits on the web. What sites do they visit? Who are they talking to? It can be helpful to “friend” your child on social media. It is also possible to install parental controls if you feel your child may be viewing inappropriate content.
If your child is already the victim of cyberbullying, there are a variety of things you can do to help them indirectly. Creating a stress free home environment can help to create a sanctuary away from the chaos of adolescence. This can include having a clutter-free and comfortable house with regularly scheduled meals and events, and time away from the Internet.
An article by the Huffington Post recommends that your child engage in deep breathing exercises, sports or physical activities, and hobbies or projects. This can help to stimulate brain activity, build confidence and make friends.
Although moving to a new city or town can be tough, you and your child can persevere with communication, education and activity. Don’t let your child be the victim of cyberbullying!
A huge thank you to Laura for this great guest post! Find more from Laura over at Edutude.com!