How to Protect Your Teen From Cyberbullying
Everyone knows what it feels like to be bullied. The time of Adolescence is a hard time for anyone and getting bullied is just an inherent consequence of being a teenager. That's all good and well, but what about when the torment of a bully is inescapable? What about when the bullying goes public for a potential audience of millions of people to witness your humiliation? What about when teens turn to suicide as a result of getting bullied? At what point do we finally say, 'cyber-bullying is a dangerous form of cruelty that no teen should ever endure?'
What is Cyberbullying?
The newest and most dangerous social obstacle our nation’s youth faces today known as cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is harassment via electronics such as text messages, social media, chat, or other websites, where victims are unable to outrun their harasser.
Cyberbullying is a relentless type of harassment; it can take place at any time of any day. Since they can attack from virtually anywhere, anonymous bullies are emboldened to say or post the most hurtful things imaginable about whoever they want, while feeling little to no fear of getting caught. While cyberbullies persistently attack their victims online, they may not realize that they may be contributing to a fellow classmate’s suicide.
4,400 adolescents kill themselves each year. A large amount of them coming from the 30% of America’s youth who are bullied online. Famous cases of young teens like Megan Meier, Ryan Halligan, and Amanda Todd, have reached an audience of millions of people. It’s a sickening notion to think that we can see the demise of these young people through the torments of video, blog and social media posts which will always remain online. Their documented ridicule will forever be public record, online material that should have never existed in the first place.
How Parents Can Save their Teen From Cyberbullying
Ask questions - The easiest and perhaps, most important step a parent can take is to ask simply ask their child questions. Inquire about whether they have been or ever have been a victim of cyber harassment. By being inquisitive, parents can discover whether their child is a victim, or even a bully unaware of the harm they are causing other adolescents.
Encourage your child to discuss cyberbullying - If you are aware that your child is somehow involved with cyber bullying, encourage them to discuss their issue with you. Moreover, if your child is aware of someone else getting bullied, consider what actions your child can take to help the victim.
- Keep an eye on your child’s online activities- Make your child aware that, while their privacy is respected, their safety is what is most important. Convey to your child that if there are signs of abuse online that you will intervene and may review their online messages and text messages.
Talk sense into your teen!
Teens live in the moment. Bullied adolescents often feel as though the intense emotional pain they feel is permanent, and that they will never overcome their tormentors.
If your teen is a victim of cyber abuse, it is imperative to create a dialogue in which they can understand that while their abuse is cruel and unfair, adolescence is just a tiny fragment of their life. Stress to your teen that if they are being abused, they need to able to trust you as a parent to help them in their struggles by any means necessary.
However, if your child is perhaps the instigator of cyber harassment, it is just as crucial to create a dialogue with them so that they know the severity that their abuse has on others. Teenagers who cyber-bully don’t fully understand what effect they have by hurting those on such a public platform. Show your teen articles about teens who have turned to suicide due to cyberbullying so that they understand that their cruel behavior can lead to fatal consequences.