We’re all familiar with bullying in schools. Who hasn’t encountered a playground bully or adjusted their route to avoid a cluster of mean girls in the school hallway?
But what of kids today?
Unfortunately, physically avoiding a school bully is only half the equation. Cyberbullying, or bullying by electronic means, has emerged as a major threat for post millennials.
Cyberbullying comes in a variety of forms and is not always easy to track. Online, perpetrators can be anonymous which often leads to more vicious and persistent bullying than what occurs in-person. Also, for the victim, there is no down time from abuse and no respite from the mockery.
In some cases, relentless bullying leads to feelings of hopelessness, isolation, instability and depression. Cyberbullying also leads to thoughts of suicide more often than traditional bullying. In fact, victims of cyberbullying are two times more likely to attempt suicide than those who are not cyberbullied.
Unfortunately, cyberbullying is not a rare occurrence. The i-SAFE Foundation, a foundation committed to empowering youth toward safe and responsible internet experiences, found that more than half of adolescents and teens have been bullied online and more than 1 in 3 have experienced cyberthreats. This means that even if your child is not affected by cyberbullying or threats, there is a strong chance they know someone who is.
If you’re worried your child is being targeted or is the perpetrator of cyberbullying (or, any form of bullying), it is essential to take action. It’s a fallacy to presume that bullying is, “really no big deal” or an issue that’s, “a normal part of growing up.” There is too much data suggesting otherwise and it is our duty to intervene and keep our kids safe. It’s also our duty to empower our kids to report bullying and to stand up for the victimized in real time. Steps like these can change a school’s culture, for the good, and can stop a bully in their tracks.
Awesome, must-know, resources for families of school-aged children:
Crisis Text Line: Text “HOME” to 741-741 to text with a free trained crisis counselor, 24/7.
Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255
Welcome back to school! Welcome back to meanness. by Sarah Kiser, CPNP-PC is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.