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What is Cyberbullying?

What is Cyberbullying?

1 in 4 young adults (ages 12-17) reported experiencing cyberbullying in 2018. With the increasing use of technology, it’s becoming more of a problem. So, in this blog, we’ll talk about what cyberbullying is, why it’s a problem, and what you as a parent can do to prevent it. 

What is Cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is deliberate, repeated harm through technology. This could mean repeatedly sending hurtful texts, or spreading hurtful rumours online. It can be psychologically and emotionally damaging, and has also been tied to depression, anxiety, low self esteem, and suicidal thoughts and attempts.

Cyberbullying vs Traditional Bullying

Cyberbullying can be much worse than traditional bullying. Online, anonymous accounts can be used, so the victim might not know who is bullying them. More people can see the hurtful comments, and more people can partake in the bullying. It could even go viral, with hundreds or thousands of people witnessing or participating in the bullying.

Actions to Keep Your Child Safe Online

Luckily, we can prevent cyberbullying with a bit of digital literacy. Encourage your children to set their social media accounts to private and to think before they post. Once something is online, it’s there forever. Others can screenshot or reshare anything you or your child puts online. Teach them to keep personal information (email, school, address, and passwords) private. Remember, not everyone is who they say they are online, so we need to be careful about what we share. 

Another thing you can do is grow trust between you and your child. We want them to be able to talk about cyberbullying with you. To do this, they need to trust that you can help them in a situation where someone is being bullied, without making it worse. Try to keep an open dialogue with them about their online interactions, and stay open and non-judgemental.

Cyberbullying is serious. However, taking action and teaching your children good online habits can go a long way. You, too, can model good behavior online, and give your child the skills they need to thrive online.