What constitutes cyberbullying? It is defined by CyberBullying.org as willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of technologies, such as computers, cell phones and other electronic devices.
It is fair to say that cyberbullying occurs when a person, through the means of technology, deliberately and repeatedly sends, posts or shares negative, harmful, false or mean content about another person, causing embarrassment or humiliation.
These are the most common places of cyberbullying:
- Social media: Facebook, Instagram, Tik-Tok, Snapchat, etc.
- Online forums, such as Discord, Reddit, etc.
- Messaging platforms: WhatsApp, Messenger, text messages, etc.
How has cyberbullying become so prevalent in the life of youth? According to DataProt, there are may different factors.
- 95% of teenagers are online. The youth generation is the always connected generation. Advancement in technology has enabled them to do so. They use the internet on a daily basis for school, video games, social media, and video streaming.
- By 2018, 45% of teens say they are constantly online. This number has gone up significantly from 24% in 2014. Teenage girls are more likely to be near-constant users than teenage boys by 50% to 39%. The internet is their life.
- 80% of teens say that others cyberbully because they think it is “funny.” It starts as a subtle perception that cyberbullying is nothing more than a joke. Teens seem not to be aware of the negative consequences that can happen to the victims. Many engage in it because they think everyone else is doing it and friends are encouraging them to participate in it. Cyberbullying is really downplayed.Page Break
- 88% of teens say they share too much personal information online. This is a big issue as this information can be used as cyberbullying material.
- 14.5% of children between the ages of 9 and 12 have been cyberbullied.
- 21% of American girls in middle and high school reported being cyberbullied online or through text messages in 2016.
- More than half the children observe cyberbullying, and yet 95% ignore this behavior. Fewer than half tell their parents about it.
What are we to do to prevent cyberbullying?
- Talk to your child. Build a trustworthy relationship. Ask them questions, such as what are they doing, where are they going, and who are they with when they are online.
- Establish rules about appropriate digital behavior, content, and apps.
- Review and re-set your child’s phone location and privacy settings.
- Follow or friend your teen on social media sites or have trusted adults to do so.
- Know your child’s user names & passwords for e-mail and social media.
- Stay up-to-date on the latest apps, social media platforms, and digital slang used by children and teens.
- Monitor a teen’s social media sites, apps, and browsing history, if you have concerns that cyberbullying may be occurring.
Let’s say that we have done all that we can to try preventing cyberbullying, but nonetheless it is still happening in our community. What can we do to help? CyberBullying.org has some great advice for parents.
- To make sure the victim feels (and is) safe, and to convey unconditional support.
- We must demonstrate to the victim, through words and actions, that we want the cyberbullying to stop, and life does not become more difficult.
- Work together to arrive at a mutually agreed upon course of action. It is important to include the victim’s opinion. They must know for sure that the adults they tell will intervene rationally and logically.
- Do not be dismissive of the victim’s perspective, but instead we need to validate their voice and perspective.
- We can schedule a meeting with a school administrator or a trusted educator to solve the problem. Many times, the victim only wants the content to be erased, so he/she can move – on with his/her life.
- If there is a physical threat involved, then the police can also be contacted.
Additional Resources for information and advice: