Cyberbully Info for You & Your Teens
CYBERBULLY INFO FOR YOU & YOUR TEENS
We all know teens have embraced the online world in a way that can befuddle and confuse parents. The Internet was in its infancy when most of today's parents were teens and cell phones were used for emergencies only. These technologies continue to change at warp speed, and it is the young who are agile enough to dive in head first.
To give you a feel for the situation, 93% of US teens are now on the Internet and more than 75% of all US teens have cell phones. These teens are constantly communicating with one another while using the Internet and/or their cell phones, from early morning until they fall asleep at night.
The difficulties for both parents and teens is that since this is a new and different world that has never existed before--there are no tried and true rules, there are no role models, no accepted social obligations and behavior, and the legal rights and laws are very murky.
Cyberbullying has emerged as a safety and social concern for parents and their teens. It’s getting a lot of press lately, and it should.
It is an online version of plain old fashioned bullying, which currently remains more widespread than cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying can be defined as willful and repeated harm that is transmitted through a variety of online media, including cell phones and texting, social media platforms (like Facebook) on the Internet, and emails. Cyberbullies use technology as their vehicle to:
With the intensity of adolescent emotions, it is easy to see how things can get out of hand.
The recipients, or victims, of cyberbullying report feeling sad and unwilling to go to school. These feelings can balloon into anxiety, depression and actual school absences. Victims have been found to have stronger likelihood of suicidal thoughts and behaviors. Those victims with already existing emotional instability and hopelessness, are considered more likely to attempt suicide. These tragic suicides are the fuel for press reports on cyberbullying.
Teen girls and boys are experiencing cyberbullying (as bullies and as victims) equally, although the incidents involving girls may be increasing at a faster rate. The cyberbullying messages can originate at any time of the day and from any location that the bully has access to their cell phone or the Internet. There appear to be no favored locations, such as school or home.
Approximately 1 in 5 (20%) of teens report that they have been cyberbullied at some point. The vast majority of incidents are relatively minor in nature.
Approximately 11% to 20% of young people admit to cyberbully behavior at some point in their lives.
Of those who receive cyberbullying messages, the research suggests that 1/3 of teens are distressed by receiving online harassment. Older teens seem to have more experience and are emotionally more resilient. They appear to be bothered less than younger teens who are just beginning to build up the emotional skills needed to navigate the teen years.
Since cyberbullying is a new behavior, there are no uniform laws to protect the victims and punish the bullies. Laws vary state by state.
Additionally, school authorities often have little or no authority (or experience) to step in and resolve cyberbullying incidents, regardless of the evidence presented by the parents and victims.
This dreadful state of affairs means that parents of cyberbully victims need to be ready to pursue assistance for their teens with vigor.
ONLINE CYBERBULLY RESOURCES FOR YOU
We see several main issues of concern for you.
2. Learn about cyberbullying. We recommend you make these resources available to your teens as well.
3. For information on how schools and law enforcement respond to cyberbullying:
Our free Child Safety Kit is sub-titled "How to teach abduction prevention without scaring your child (or yourself)" and includes 24 pages of guidance for parents.
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