Cyberbullying has for long been a serious problem with teens. As teens increase their use of communication on technology, their exposure to cyberbullying becomes higher. Cyberbullying involves repeated intentional aggressive behavior against someone. While bullying typically involves people who have physical power or higher social status, anyone who can remain anonymous online is able to cyberbully.
Impact of Cyberbullying
Since cyberbullies are anonymous, cyberbullying can be extremely harmful to victims. Victims often feel fear and isolation because they are not able to tell whether the people around them are perpetrators. Cyberbullying also includes distributing harmful information about someone online, which can include rumors or personal information. This may affect the victim’s real-world life and relationships. Teens who are victims of cyberbullying often face problems at school because their fellow students become aware of the rumors and participate in the spread.
Signs of Cyberbullying
Because cyberbullying can be very dangerous to teens, it is important that parents watch for signs of cyberbullying. Most teens that have been bullied in real life often have been bullied online, so it is vital that parents check their teens’ online and real-life environments. It is also important to see if there are changes in social interactions of their teens. If your teen is talking less, it may be a sign of cyberbullying as most victims of cyberbullying feel isolated and fear to speak up about it.
Response to Cyberbullying
If a parent detects cyberbullying, he or she must respond to the cyberbullying properly. Most parents tend to restrict internet use or block their teen from using social media. Although this method may prevent teens from being exposed to any cyberbullying online, cyberbullies may continue to spread rumors online, which may have an effect on the teen’s school life. In addition, teens often react badly to parents restricting their online time. Instead of restrictive methods to address the problem, the parents should talk to the child about safer internet use. The parent should also find ways to monitor their teens’ social media use. For instance, parents can be more involved by following their kids on social media platforms.