cyberbullying What to do if you r child is targeted Sarah Bricker-Hunt
just don’t feel like going,” 15 year-old Ella insists as she slams her bedroom door. “Maybe next time. I need to check my email.”
Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones.” If the cyberbullying involves an adult bully, it is considered cyber-stalking or cyberharassment. Cyberbullying is also distinct from online child-related crimes such as an adult trying to lure a minor.
Teenagers will have their moments, but Ella’s mother was becoming concerned. This time it was a movie night she’d had planned a month ago with some friends from school – and she also recently quit band and basketball. “Is this withdrawing behavior? Is she depressed?” she wondered.
Generally, if a child is feeling targeted over the internet, or a parent notices what they would consider harassing behavior, the issue of cyberbullying needs to be addressed by parents and the school district.
Ella’s mother decides to check Facebook to see if there are any clues there. What she finds leaves her shaking: dozens of taunting, demoralizing posts from several kids at Ella’s school and even a few explicit threats. What Ella has experienced is cyberbullying. According to Cincinnati’s Beech Acres Parenting Center, one in four teens has experienced it, and one in six teens has cyberbullied another teen. It’s a modern problem that has grown as quickly as the internet itself, making it a relatively new and unique issue that can confuse parents, children and school administration. Most bullying that takes place on school grounds falls under the jurisdiction a school’s conduct code, but cyberbullying isn’t always addressed.
I s i t c y b e r b u l ly i n g ? Stopcyberbullying.org indicates that cyberbullying is taking place “when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the
CINCINNATIPARENT.COM // MARCH 2015
W h at s h o u l d pa r e n t s d o ? According to Beech Acres, when parents discover their child is being cyberbullied, they might be tempted to confront the bully or even possibly minimize their behavior. Instead, focus on reassurance. The parenting center recommends telling your child five key things: “I hear you,” “I believe you,” “You are not alone,” “It is not your fault,” and “There are things we can do.” Talk with your kids about both internet safety and internet etiquette, and limit usage. Don’t introduce too much tech too early. Keep an eye out for typical signs