Bellmore, NY, April 24th, 2013 – As the trial of two young men begins involving the sexual assault, cyber bullying and suicide of a California high school student, it is critical that everyone be aware of this latest phenomenon of cyber bullying that is threatening the well-being and lives of young people everywhere.
The reported statistics for cyber bullying of online teens is alarming:
- 32% have been targets of annoying or potentially menacing messages.
- 38% of all girls report being bullied; and 41% of older girls (ages 15-17) report being bullied.
- 39% of social network users have been cyberbullied compared with 22% of teens who do not use social networks.
- 13% have had an experience online that made them nervous to go to school the next day.
- 55% “look the other way” when they see someone else being mean or cruel online.
- Only 1 in 6 parents know their child has been bullied over social media;
- “Hyper-networking” teens (those who spend more than three hours per school day on social networks) are 110% more likely to be a victim of cyberbullying.
“There are warning signs that a child may be a victim of cyberbullying that parents should be aware of,” states Laura Campbell, Community Educator at Long Island Crisis Center. “It could be changes in behavior that include: appearing sad, moody or anxious; avoiding school; withdrawing from social activities; experiencing a drop in grades; appearing upset after using the computer; or appearing upset after viewing a text message.”
Parents need to be proactive in this assault on their children:
- Tell your child that you know about cyberbullying and ask if s/he or their friends have ever experienced it.
- Emphasize that you do not blame them if they are being cyberbullied and that you will not take away their computer/phone privileges; the threat of losing their computer/phone time is the main reason kids don’t tell adults when they are cyberbullied.
- Listen carefully and don’t trivialize what they are experiencing. Some events may not seem like a big deal to you, but are a serious blow to their self-esteem.
- Teach your child what to do in cases where s/he feels threatened or bullied.
- Set rules about online time.
- Make sure that you know their screen names and passwords and that they don’t include any personal information in their online profiles.
- Explain that cyberbullying is unacceptable. Tell them that you expect responsible online behavior and there will be consequences for inappropriate behavior.
- Become familiar with each person that is on your child’s social media network.
For information about a cyber bullying presentation for your school or community group, call Long Island Crisis Center at 516-826-0244.