Tuesday, February 19, 2008 - Almanac Vol. 54, No. 22
Cyberbullying–A Growing Threat to Your Children
Cyberbullying—when children or teens use the Internet, cell phones or other digital technologies to threaten, harass or intimidate another child or teen—is a growing problem, affecting almost half of US teens and children. Studies have shown that difficulty making friends, loneliness, low self-esteem, depression, poor academic achievement, truancy and suicide are all associated with being bullied. The pervasive, and sometimes invasive nature of some communication technologies can create intense stress for victims as attacks swell and spread to large numbers of peers. Many adults are often unaware of the problem due to lack of technical knowledge or youths’ tendency to not discuss online activities openly.
The following tips are given to help adults in the Penn community support children facing the threats of cyber-bullying:
- Make sure that the child knows that if she ever has a problem on-line, that you are there to help.
- Advise your child or teen not to respond to bullying. Rather, ask for adult help.
- Advise your child or teen not to trust that people on the Internet are who they say they are. It is very easy for a bully to fake messages that look like they come from your friends.
- Print everything out. For serious cases, you may want to contact school officials or police, and it will help to have documentation.