Cyber Bullies Unfriended
Reminisce on your childhood, about the times playing out on the school playground, whether it was tag or some form of hide and seek. It was always a memorable occasion until an encounter with the school yard bully, following their malicious events they instilled you were able to escape from the ordeal. Flash forward to present day, we still have bullies. However, these bullies have become more efficient. Now, they can reach their victims 24 hours a day. Whether they are home from school, on trips, or in their bedroom, bullies are present in any vicinity as long as an electronic device is present. How have the bullies become skilled? They are the bullies of the 21st century, Cyber Bullies. These cyber bullies are reaching about 1/3 of today’s youth and their torment has no off button. Cyber bullying is described as an aggressive an intentional behavior repeated frequently overtime by means of the use, by individual or group, of electronic facilities targeting a victim who cannot easily defend him or herself. According to an article posted in “Facts About Cyber Bullying” at least 43% of kids have been bullied online and 81% of young people think bullying online is easier to get away with than bullying in person. Furthermore, 68% of teens agree that cyber bullying is a serious problem. . Once a victim has been bullied they will express suicidal thoughts and are more likely to attempt suicide. The association between bullying and suicide seems to be stronger for indirect forms of bullying than direct forms of bullying. The victims will also experience health problems such as depression, low self-esteem, and aggression. It is important to be hyper aware of your child and their social life especially because electronics are a factor in their everyday activities. Here are tips and signs to look for if you suspect your child is being cyberbullied and how to address the situation.
Is your child being cyberbullied?
- Your child begins to avoid using their mobile device or computer. Or, conversely, they begin to spend much more time texting, gaming or using social networking sites.
- Your child becomes more secretive about their online activities and avoids conversations that have to do with their computer or mobile device.
- Your child appears sad, frustrated, impatient or angry much more than usual.
- Your child suddenly deletes their social networking profiles and accounts.
- Your child is reluctant to leave the house; they begin avoiding social situations they used to enjoy or withdraw from family and friends.
If your child begins to show some of the signs it is vital that you take action to stop this online bullying.
- Talk with your child about cyberbullying
- Report the cyberbullying to digital providers
- Block the cyber bully’s email address or cell phone number, or change your child’s email address or phone number.
- Report the cyberbullying to your child’s school
- Don’t reply to any incidents of cyberbullying but do save and document the threats (harassing messages, sexually explicit pictures, or threatening texts, for example) and report them to the police.
It is important to note that we are making strides in the ability to counteract cyber bullies. Schools are the first point of resources for victims of cyber bullying. They continue to maintain a safe learning environment where students are guided into making good choices when interacting with peers online. Schools also can impose student- to-student programs to promote healthy relationships. The schools can support students in learning character education to foster positive intrapersonal relationships to reduce bullying. Schools are a major resource because they are where children who could be bullied spend a majority of their time. Parents and caregivers are another influential assent to counteracting this 21st century online war. Always continue to have open and honest communication between you and your child, this will allow them to come to you if they do fall into the grasps of a cyber bully. Next don’t allow technology to run your child’s life. When your child comes home from school give them an hour or two with their electronics and then have them put them away. Encourage your child to play outside, help with dinner, or play with their siblings or friends. For older children monitor their online use and social networking forums give them boundaries with their electronics as well. We do live in a world consumed by electronics so parents and teachers must explain to their children how to navigate this 21st century world safely. Hopefully by doing this we can Unfriend cyberbullies for good.
My name is Hailey Ibarra I am 21 years old currently I am attending West Valley Junior College in Saratoga. At this moment I am Liberal Arts Major but I hope to transfer to San Jose State and major in their CHAD program (Child & Adolescent Development). I am currently taking a few child development classes to help prepare myself for my future major and future career as an elementary school teacher. I love working with kids and my jobs are a reflection of that I nanny twice a week and I also work at a gymnastics studio with younger kids helping them perfect their skills. On my off time I enjoy reading books, socializing with my friends, and listening to country music. I have always enjoyed writing even as a little child when I would create fantasy short stories. So I was very excited to be able to combine my two passions, education of children and writing, to create this resource article!