Harm inflicted through the use of electronics

Identification, Prevention, and Response

The Cyberbullying Research Center states that "Kids have been bullying each other for generations. The latest generation, however, has been able to utilize technology to expand their reach and the extent of their harm."

What are some of the negative effects that cyberbullying can have on a person?

There are many detrimental outcomes associated with cyberbullying that reach into the real world. First, many targets of cyberbullying report feeling depressed, sad, angry, and frustrated. As one teenager stated: “It makes me hurt both physically and mentally. It scares me and takes away all my confidence. It makes me feel sick and worthless.” Victims who experience cyberbullying also reveal that are were afraid or embarrassed to go to school. In addition, research has revealed a link between cyberbullying and low self‐esteem, family problems, academic problems, school violence, and delinquent behavior. Finally, cyberbullied youth also report having suicidal thoughts, and there have been a number of examples in the United States where youth who were victimized ended up taking their own lives.

How much cyberbullying is out there?

Estimates of the number of youth who experience cyberbullying vary widely (ranging from 10‐40% or more), depending on the age of the group studied and how cyberbullying is formally defined. In our research, we inform students that cyberbullying is when someone “repeatedly makes fun of another person online or repeatedly picks on another person through email or text message or when someone posts something online about another person that they don’t like.” Using this definition, about 20% of the over 4,400 randomly‐selected 11‐18 year‐old students in 2010 indicated they had been a victim at some point in their life. About this same number admitted to cyberbullying others during their lifetime. Finally, about 10% of kids in this recent study said they had both been a victim and an offender.

Are there any warning signs that might indicate when cyberbullying is occurring?

A child or teenager may be a victim of cyberbullying if he or she: unexpectedly stops using their computer or cell phone; appears nervous or jumpy when an instant message or email appears; appears uneasy about going to school or outside in general; appears to be angry, depressed, or frustrated after using the computer or cell phone; avoids discussions about what they are doing on the computer or cell phone; or becomes abnormally withdrawn from usual friends and family members.

Student's view on Cyberbullying

Students Take On Cyberbullying

Recognizing and Preventing Cyberbullying

How can I prevent my child from becoming involved in cyber bullying?

Cyber bullying is a different kind of bullying in that your child can be the perpetrator or the victim in your own home. Following is a list of some precautions you can take to minimize the chances of your child becoming a cyber bully or a victim of cyber bullying.

  • Set clear expectations with your child.
    • Outline your expectations for reasonable online behavior and explain how technology is meant to be used. Be very clear that cyber bullying will not be tolerated and that there will be consequences if you discover your child has been treating people poorly using technology.
    • Talk specifically with your child about cyber bullying and encourage him or her to come to you if he or she receives threatening or otherwise disturbing messages via the internet or cell phone. Tell your child that you will not take the technology away if he or she confides in you about being bullied.
  • Keep an eye on your child’s online activities.
    • Keep computers and other web tools in a common area of the house and out of children’s and youth’s bedrooms.
    • Make your child aware that while you respect his or her privacy, his or her safety is your main concern. Tell your child that if you suspect something is wrong, you may review his or her text messages, emails or social networking sites.
    • You may want to consider installing parental control filtering or monitoring technologies. However, do not rely solely on them. It’s best to communicate openly and honestly with your child about your concerns.

What do I do if my child is a cyber bully?

Discovering that your child is a cyber bully can be worrisome. However, the good news is that you are aware of what’s going on and you want to stop it. Here are some ideas for what you should do if your child is cyber bullying others:

  • Remember that children who bully others do so because they might also have been a victim of some type of bullying or other trauma in the past. Talking with your child about why he or she is cyber bullying is an important part of stopping the behavior.
  • Explain to your child that this type of behavior will not be tolerated.
  • Explain the severity of your child’s actions, and ask how he or she would feel if the behavior was reported to law enforcement, school or other authorities, or if he or she was on the receiving end of the bullying.
  • As a family, begin to think of ways that your child can repair the harm that he or she has caused to the victim, the victim’s loved ones, and/or the community.
  • Monitor internet and phone activities, or take them away completely, if necessary.
  • Share your concerns with your child’s teacher, coach, counselor and other important adults (e.g., relatives or family friends) in his or her life to have a united front against this type of behavior.
  • If you or your child needs additional help, seek a school counselor or mental health provider.