Offering Therapeutic Solutions for a Dangerous Problem
Electronic bullying is prevalent in the United States among children and adolescents. The national organization StopBullying.gov seeks to educate people about the types of bullying and how to prevent it. They provide children, adolescents, parents, teachers, and clinicians tools to help educate others about different kinds of bullying and the dangers it creates.
I hear more and more about the prevalence of cyberbullying among clients I counsel, so I began to educate myself on this problem. I wanted to share with you what I discovered related to cyberbullying thanks to sources like stopbullying.gov.
If parents and teachers are not vigilant and able to identify cyberbullying, it can go on secretly to cause significant harm to a child.
What is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is harassment that includes sending, posting, or sharing negative and harmful content that causes someone embarrassment or humiliation.
Cyberbullying occurs wherever people view, participate in, or share content online, including:
- Text messages
- Social media
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2015 study estimates that 16% of high school students experience electronically bullying. This can lead to significant mental health problems such as anxiety and depression.
Why Cyberbullying is Uniquely Dangerous
There are unique concerns regarding cyberbullying. The most common mediums where cyberbullying occurs are social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter, text messaging and email.
Cyberbullying is Persistent
Digital devices offer the ability for 24 hour access, resulting in little to no relief for the person being bullied. With the prevalence of social media and digital platforms, content shared can be seen by anyone — both stranger and acquaintance.
Cyberbullying is Permanent
A person’s reputation can be harmed due to the fact that content shared online creates a permanent public record of their activities, and behavior both positive and negative. Cyberbullying can harm the online reputations of everyone involved, including the person bullied and those doing the bullying. The content put online does not go away and can affect their future such as college acceptances or job offers.
Cyberbullying is Hard to Notice
Cyberbullying is often hard to notice due to it being on computers, laptops, ipads, or cell phones. A student could be getting bullied at school while the teacher has no clue it is happening. A child could be in their room at home viewing upsetting and harmful content about them on the internet while their parents are in the living room unaware of the harm being done to their son or daughter. If parents and teachers are not vigilant and able to identify cyberbullying, it can go on secretly to cause significant harm to a child.
Is My Child Experiencing Cyberbullying?
Some signs that your child may be experiencing cyberbullying:
- Noticeable increases or decreases in device use.
- A child exhibits emotional responses to what is happening on their device.
- A child hides their screen or device when others are near.
- Avoids discussion about what they are doing on their device.
- A child starts to avoid social situations such as going to school or spending time with friends.
- A child becomes withdrawn or depressed, or loses interest in people and activities.
If you are a parent who is concerned about their child, please do not hesitate to call Watershed Counseling to schedule an appointment. I work with children and adolescents experiencing behavioral problems due to issues like cyberbullying. We want to be there for you and your child to help with this prevalent problem.