|Texting is an emerging form|
of bullying for teens
That's no fun and can be very hurtful to anyone.
Imagine the impact of that type of electronic humiliation on the immature psyche of a pre-teenager who's struggling to fit in? That's the context for what sociologists call "cyberbullying"
Cyberbullying, instead of happening face-to-face bullying, happens through the use of technology such as computers, cell phones and other devices. Child development experts state that this type of e-bullying tends to peak around the end of middle school and the beginning of high school.
Examples of cyberbullying include:
- Sending hurtful, rude, or mean text messages to others
- Spreading rumors or lies about others by e-mail or on social networks
- Creating websites, videos or social media profiles that embarrass, humiliate, or make fun of others
Bullying online is very different from face-to-face bullying because messages and images can be:
- Sent 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year
- Shared be shared to a very wide audience
- Sent anonymously
Research on cyberbullying has found that students involved are more likely to:
- Be unwilling to attend school
- Receive poor grades
- Have lower self-esteem
- Have more health problems
- Use alcohol and drugs
- Skip school
- Experience in-person bullying or victimization
Despite these negatives there are things that parents can do to help their kids deal with this emergent form of techno-bullying:
- Communicate with your children. Set up a daily time to check in with your son or daughter, and listen to any concerns about online activities that they are involved in.
- Talk specifically about cyberbullying and encourage your children to tell you immediately if they see or experience cyberbullying.
- Be aware of where your children go online. Familiarize yourself with the technology they are using.
- Work together and come to a clear understanding about when, where, and for what purpose phones and computers can be used.
- Develop clear rules about what is and what is not appropriate online, and decide on fair consequences when those rules are not followed.