Cyberbullying is bullying that occurs when a person spreads insults or rumors using electronic devices, such as on social media, through texts, emails, or videos. With cyberbullying there is intentional, repeated aggression using technology. It is estimated that at least 1 in 4 teens have been cyberbullied and few of these teens, only about a third, tell their parents. Students with low self-esteem are more likely to take part in cyberbullying (Berger, 2018; Hirsch, 2014; PACER, 2020; Patchin, 2010).
Perhaps because they feel protected, like it’s anonymous, teens, pre-teens, and adults can be especially cruel online. Cyberbullying causes a great deal of harm including an increased risk of stress, anxiety, low self-esteem, depression, and suicide. There have been too many cases of teens and pre-teens who have been cyberbullied taking their own lives (Feldman, 2014; PACER, 2020; Science Daily, 2018).
To prevent cyberbullying parents and schools can age-appropriately discuss what cyberbullying is and how it causes harm, and parents can have a technology contract with their children before they get their first phone or Internet use on an iPad or computer (see the trailer for Screenagers below). Once cyberbullying has happened parents can offer support, talk about their own experiences, save screenshots and print evidence, communicate with the school, block the bully, limit technology use, and be more aware of their child’s online world (Hirsch, 2014; PACER, 2020).
Berger, K. S. (2018). The developing person: Through Childhood and adolescence (11th
ed.). New York, NY: Worth.
Feldman, R. S. (2014). Child development: A topical approach. Boston, MA: Pearson.
Hirsch, L. (2014). Cyberbullying. Retrieved from https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/cyberbullying.html
PACER (2020). Cyberbullying. Retrieved from https://www.pacer.org/bullying/resources/cyberbullying/
Patchin, J. W. (2010). Self-esteem and cyberbullying. Retrieved from https://cyberbullying.org/self-esteem-and-cyberbullying
Science Daily (2018). Young victims of cyberbullying twice as likely to attempt suicide and self-harm, study finds. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2018/04/180419130923.htm