Margaret Solis

What is cyberbullying? Why does it matter?

Cyberbullying is what happens when kids bully each other through electronic technology. Though cyberbullying may start out as simply sending intimidating or threatening messages, it can escalate to more serious bullying. It is very similar to in person bullying that occurs in schools and has some of the same undesirable consequences. It is a serious problem that requires adult attention to combat its harmful effects.

Facts & Need to Know Info

During the 2012-2013 school year, 22% of students between the ages of 12 and 18 were bullied at school. Of these students who experienced bullying, 7% were victims of cyberbullying. Some examples of cyberbullying are rude or inappropriate text or email messages, rumors started by email or text, posting on social networking sites and sending embarrassing pictures or videos. Kids who are cyberbullied are more likely to use alcohol and drugs, skip school, experience in person bullying, receive lower grades, have lower self esteem and suffer from more health problems than there peers who do not face cyberbullying. Because of the prevalence of technology use and electronic devices, cyberbullying can happen anytime, anywhere making it a very serious threat.

Consequences of Cyberbullying

Technology and electronic devices themselves are not the problem but the cyberbullying itself is responsible for a range of negative effects on those who are unfortunate victims. We do know that those who are cyberbullied are more likely to use alcohol and drugs, experience in person bullying, perform worse academically, have lower self esteem and suffer from more health problems. In addition to these effects, is the fact that many victims never report cyberbullying incidences. This is due to many reasons such as not wanting to tattle or be a snitch, concerns about retaliation and lack of belief in adults' actions.
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Preventing Cyberbullying

Know What is Going On

The best way to prevent cyberbullying is by staying watchful and aware of what kids are doing online as well as on the phone, Be mindful and talk with your child about what they are doing and what is acceptable to say or to be told. Know kids passwords and follow them on social media so that you can keep tabs on what is going on online. Encourage kids to always tell if they or someone they know of is being cyberbullied. Let them know that they will not get in trouble for reaching out. Stress the importance of speaking up. Set rules about technology and device use. Let them know what they are and aren't allowed to do online.
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Actions to Take if Cyberbullying Occurs

In the event that preventative measures have failed, there are step to take if you know cyberbullying is happening. Firstly, do not respond or forward messages. Instead, collect them as evidence. Report these to the cell phone and/or web service providers. If social media sites are involved contact those online service providers directly. Finally, report problems to law enforcement official if they involve threats of violent actions, pornography or sexually explicit material or stalking.
Help Prevent Cyberbullying with the KnowBullying App by SAMHSA

Copyright Information; Bullying: What You Need to Know. (2015). Available from:

U.S. Department of Education (2015). Student reports of bullying and cyber-bullying: Results from the 2013 School Crime Supplement to the National Crime Victimization Survey. Available from: http://nces.