Hints and tips for identifying and helping both the bully and the bullied.
Did you know that 25% of public schools report that bullying among kids occurs on a daily or weekly basis? Or, that 1 in 5 high school students reported being bullied during the past year? How about the fact that 48% of teenagers say that they’ve received a text with sexually suggestive content.
The good news is that because sexting and bullying have made national headlines, schools and communities (and even celebrities) are taking a strong stance.
Signs of Cyberbullying
- Signs of emotional distress during or after using the internet.
- Withdrawal from friends and activities.
- Avoidance of school or group gatherings.
- Slipping grades and “acting out” in anger at home.
- Changes in mood, behavior, sleep or appetite.
Suggestions for Teens
- Don’t assume anything you send or post is going to remain private.
- There is no changing your mind online; anything you send or post will never truly go away.
- Don’t give in to pressure and do something that makes you uncomfortable.
- Consider the recipient’s reaction.
- Nothing is truly anonymous.
Why Sexting Matters
- Dangers of sexting include emotional and legal consequences. Teens are now being charged with crimes relevant to sexting.
- Sexting images can be distributed and archived online for people to search forever.
- Not just on phones. Sexting can be done on any media-sharing device or technology.
- There are many causes for sexting to take place: kids are responding to peer pressure; getting pressured by a girlfriend or boyfriend; or sometimes it’s impulsive behavior like flirting, or even blackmail.
- The bottom line: Stay alert when using digital media. People aren’t always who they seem to be. Critical thinking about what we upload as well as downloadis the best protection.
Start with Parents
- Talk about bullying with your kids, discuss it and offer unconditional support.
- Know your kids’ online world. Check their postings and the websites they visit, and be aware of how they spend their time online.
- Consider limitations on electronic communication.
- Be aware of what your teens are posting publicly.
- Set expectations.
- Keep calm and carry on. If a bully strikes, a kid’s best defense might be to remain calm, ignore hurtful remarks, tell the bully to stop, and simply walk away.
- Don’t try to fight the battle yourself. Sometimes talking to a bully’s parents can be constructive, but it’s generally best to do so in a setting where a school official, such as a counselor, can mediate.
Sites Posing Potential Danger
We have compiled a list of websites that have been identified as posing a potential danger for students. Please note that not all of these sites are breeding grounds for cyberbullying, but the reality is that with the lack of monitoring or knowledge of how these sites work, they are creating the perfect opportunities for cyberbullies.