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Cyberbullying has become a big problem. Read this article to learn more about what cyber bullying is and how you can protect yourself or your teenager from becoming a victim of cyberbullying. Just like any bullying, cyberbullying is a very serious issue.
Most adolescents and teens are very comfortable using technology, and technology has become an important part of their social lives. While using technology can be fun and teach teens useful skills, it can also be used for cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying occurs when teens use communication technology to say hurtful, embarrassing, or threatening things about another teen. Cyberbullying can be very emotionally damaging to teens, and can have legal consequences for teens and parents. There are many types of cyberbullying, including:
Cyberbullying can come through many types of technology:
Like bullying in person, cyberbullying can have negative emotional consequences for both the victim and the bully. There are some things that can make cyberbullying more serious:
Cyberbullies may be bullies in the real world as well, though sometimes cyberbullies are teens who are the victims of bullying at school and want to get even with their tormentors. Girls are more likely to be cyberbullies than boys, but both can be cyberbullies or victims. About 1 in 3 teens has been the victim of cyberbvullying.
Some ways to discourage cyberbullying include:
Cyberbullying often results in teens being depressed, afraid, or upset, especially when using the computer or cell phone. Teens may not want to tell parents if they are the victim of cyberbullying because their internet or cell phone access is very important to them and they don’t want to lose it. Let teens know that they will not be punished for being the victim of cyberbullying so they feel comfortable telling you what is happening.
If a teen is the victim of cyberbullying, parents don’t have to take away their cell phone or computer access. Instead:
Teens who have been the victims or perpetrators of cyberbullying may be at increased risk for depression or teen suicide, and may need counseling to overcome the harmful effects of cyberbullying.
Center for Safe and Responsible Internet Use, "Parent's Guide to Cyberbullying and Cyberthreats" [available online]
Stop Bullying Now, "Cyberbullying" [available online]
Cyberbullying Research Center, "Preventing Cyberbullying: Top Ten Tips for Parents" [available online]
National Crime Prevention Council, "What is cyberbulling?" [available online]
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