What is cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is "willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones and other electronic devices." This practice can include:
- Sending hateful messages or threats to an individual
- Spreading rumors
- Posting threatening messages on social networking sites or through email
- Stealing a person's account information to log into and alter their account
- Posing as someone else online to hurt and embarrass others
- Sexting, or circulating sexually suggestive pictures or messages about a person
What is my child’s risk of being cyberbullied?
The Cyberbullying Research Center reports that half of all teens have experienced some form of cyberbullying, and 10 to 20% experience it regularly.
What are the potential consequences of cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is extremely damaging to young adults. Unlike traditional bullying, where teens can often escape the aggressor at home, cyberbullying affects victims 24 hours a day, seven days a week.Hurtful rumors and images can be rapidly circulated to large groups of people, anonymously. Cyberbullying can lead to anxiety, depression, and even suicide.
What are the warning signs that my child is being cyberbullied?
Children who are cyberbullied often suffer in silence. As a parent, it is important to become aware of signs your child is struggling. Your child may be bullied if they:
- Unexpectedly stop using the computer or favorite mobile devices
- Appear unsettled, anxious, or nervous when a message or notification appears
- Appear uneasy about attending school or social events
- Become angry, depressed, upset or withdrawn after using the computer
- Become abnormally withdrawn from family and friends
- Complain of frequent headaches, stomach aches, or possibly faked illnesses
- Experience a drastic drop in grades
- Exhibit signs of low self-esteem
What should I do if my child is a victim of cyberbullying?
If you suspect your child is being bullied, take action immediately:
- Talk openly to your child about what is going on
- Contact the teacher, school, and/or local police
- Consider contacting a mental health counselor for your child
Funded by a partnership with the Texas Legislature, and powered by the Center for Identity, IDWise is a resource center for the public on identity theft, fraud, and privacy.