Children live in a new age of technology. Communication is mostly done through texting, Facebook messaging, and Snapchat. Cyberbullying can and does exist through each and every one of these platforms. Whether it’s a rumor, mean or degrading comments, embarrassing pictures, or fake profiles, children are experiencing the brunt of this bullying on their cellphones, computers, and tablets. With the Internet, sometimes it’s hard to tell who the source is, making it even harder to shut down the bullying.
The Internet offers a certain anonymity, making it even easier to send personal and hurtful attacks. However, cellphones and computers are not to blame for cyberbullying. These same websites can be used to connect children to friends and family, help speak with schoolmates about homework, and be used for healthy entertainment. The problem occurs when they are being used to harm others.
Oftentimes, when a child is cyberbullied, they are also being bullied in-person. According to the US Department of Health, cyberbullying can result in your child “skipping school, be unwilling to attend afterschool programs, receive poor grades, lower their self-esteem, and may promote health problems.”1
Opening up the conversation with your children about cyberbullying may be difficult. The child may fear their cellphone or computer time will be taken away, according to the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), this is the main reason children don’t tell adults they are cyberbullied. The NCPC recommends keeping your computer in a common area of the house and familiarizing yourself with social media sites. It’s important to let your children “know they can come to you for help if anything is inappropriate, upsetting, or dangerous.”2