Cyberbullying and Your Child

17166009_mCyberbullying is a very real and dangerous problem. It can be hard for parents to understand the power of online bullying. If you grew up with physical, in-your-face bullying and violence, words on a screen may seem harmless and minor in comparison. But, cyberbullying can and does cause real harm, as we’ve seen with news stories of kids who have committed suicide after being victimized online. Here are some things you need to know about this awful trend.

  • Cyberbullying can start much younger than you might expect. We tend to think of cyberbullying as a problem experienced by teen and tweens, but surveys have found that it is a common problem for younger elementary school children as well.
  • Cyberbullies are often anonymous. This can make the situation very scary for victims, and gives the bully even more confidence. It can also make it difficult to trace.
  • Cyberbullies impersonate other people. This can lead to misunderstandings between friends and other disastrous situations.
  • Cyberbullying is not always peer-to-peer. Adults, including teachers, sometimes instigate or participate in bullying campaigns against children. Most disgusting, are parents who encourage their children to participate in online bullying or even impersonate another child or teenager in order to bully a child themselves. Hard to believe, but is has happened.
  • If you discover or suspect cyberbullying take action, but proceed with caution. When a well-meaning parent lashes out in defense of their child, it can actually make the situation worse. Bullying is about humiliating and marginalizing the victim. Make sure that you handle it in a way that does not add fuel to the fire. Also, if you find yourself tempted to out-bully the bully, check yourself. You could get in serious legal trouble.