Have you checked your Facebook today? What about your Instagram account? Are you constantly checking your social media and text messages throughout the day?
If you answered “Yes!” you are not alone! Technology and electronics are must-haves in the 21st Century, but they also have the potential to be harmful. How many of the online comments and posts you come across throughout your day are rude, hurtful, or even threatening?
One of the most prevalent forms of bullying right now is cyber bullying. Stopbullying.com describes cyber bullying as “bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets.” Cyber bullying can involve sending threatening, humiliating or intimidating messages, or posting hurtful comments or personal images.
More than 1 in 3 young people have experienced cyber threats online. Over 25% of adolescents and teens have been bullied repeatedly through their cell phones or the internet (www.bullyingstatistics.org). The statistics are alarming and cyber bullying is one of the leading causes of teenage suicide. Cyber bulling motivates young people to be more than twice as likely to self-harm or attempt suicide. These statistics are concerning, as is the fact that teens who are cyber bullied are less likely to report the abuse than those bullied by traditional means. There are many reasons why victims do not report: the feeling of embarrassment, helplessness, or fear.
What can be done? How do we encourage young people to report bullying? Talk to your children about cyber bullying and being safe online and on their phones. Encourage them to talk to a parent or another safe adult if they or someone they know are being cyber bullied. Keep a computer in a shared space in the home to ensure that kids are safe when online. Communicate to your child that private or personal information must not be shared online.
Most of all, support your children and teens and show them positive ways to communicate with their peers.
Another solution to cyber bullying is prevention education from a professional provider. Radiant Futures offers a variety of workshops/trainings on a range of topics, including bullying. Radiant Futures’s Outreach Team is dedicated to helping the community address on this prevalent issue. Radiant Futures works with local schools to educate parents, faculty, and students on the topic of bullying. In addition to prevention, Radiant Futures provides intervention to those who have experienced bullying through individual therapy. Radiant Futures provides therapy for individuals who have experienced: physical, verbal and/or psychological abuse. If you would like more resources or support, please call our 24-hour Helpline (877) 531-5522.
Join us in spreading the word about cyber bullying, together we can put an end to the cycle of violence.