As a parent, you want to do everything you can to protect your child. But It’s not always easy to know what your child needs protection from. This is especially true in the case of cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying occurs when a teen or preteen uses the Internet, social media or any other form of electronic communication to threaten, harass, humiliate or degrade another child. These attacks can be direct or indirect; meaning the “bully” or “frenemy” can contact the victim directly or indirectly by hiding his/her identity. The effects of cyberbullying can be devastating to the victim and the family.
Research has shown that 1 in 3 young people have experienced cyber threats. At least half of these teens and pre-teens do not tell their parents. While parents want to give their children a sense of privacy, it is important to be aware of their online activities. A key to prevention is parental involvement.
- Have a candid and informative conversation with your child about cyberbullying.
- Let your child know that to bully is wrong, harmful and even illegal.
- Be direct about consequences of cyberbullying and encourage your child to tell an adult if he/she is a victim or knows of someone who is being victimized.
- Monitor your child’s Internet and social media use. Consider that a condition to having access to social media may require them to share passwords with their parent.
- Consistent oversight and monitoring is essential. Ask questions and follow your gut. A child that is being cyberbullied may become withdrawn, isolated from friends, and develop school phobia.
In some extreme cases, children have even committed suicide. If you have any concerns about your child and cyberbullying, please contact The Children’s Division at SBH Behavioral Health Services at 718-960-3071.