Understanding Bullying and The Rise of Cyberbullying
Understanding Bullying and The Rise of Cyberbullying
Bullying comes in many different forms. Sometimes it is physical, sometimes emotional, and often it is a mixture of the two.
Any way that bullying presents itself, it is damaging to the long-term health of children of all ages.
Bullying can take four separate forms.
- Verbal bullying
- Physical bullying
- Social bullying
In this post, we will help you understand some of the bullying your children may face at school (and in other settings), help you get a grasp on cyberbullying, and provide you with a few ways you can help your child deal with bullying.
According to the PEW Internet and American Life Survey, only 7% of U.S. parents are worried about cyberbullying, even though 33% of teenagers have been victims of cyberbullying.
Despite its prevalence, many people do not understand bullying. Let’s break down each type of bullying and look at the different elements involved.
Saying or writing mean things directed at an individual or group.
Here are some specifics:
- Threats and intimidation
- Demeaning jokes
- Rumors and gossip
This form of bullying involves physical violence or threats of harm.
Here are some signs:
- Hitting, kicking, or pushing
- Stealing or damaging property
- Forced and unwelcome contact
This type of bullying occurs when someone is made to feel humiliated or excluded. This behavior is often carried out by groups of children (or adults) and can be difficult to spot.
Here are some signs to look out for:
- Social manipulation
- Telling someone they cannot be friends with another person
- Spreading harmful rumors
This type of bullying is the newest form and often involves elements of the other three types of bullying.
Here are some examples of cyberbullying:
- Sending harassing emails or text messages
- Threats online
- Sexual harassment
- Ridiculing someone publicly over social media
- Posting lies, rumors, and gossip online (or spreading someone else’s slanderous posts)
- Hate speech
Increase in Cyber Bullying
Over the past twenty years, the rise of the internet has brought about a new form of bullying called cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is difficult to notice by authority figures (such as teachers and parents) because it happens in online spaces.
Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and even text and email messages are typical mediums for cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying can occur frequently and is difficult to handle due to constant access to the victim.
Cyberbullying can also occur anonymously through apps that conceal the poster's identity such as Yik Yak and Whisper.
Cyberbullying is the most complex form of bullying and can be hard for parents to notice.
How to Prevent Bullying and Cyber Bullying
There is no one way to prevent bullying.
Raising awareness about the different kinds of bullying helps. But this does not address the root issue of bullying.
These are a few strategies that have been shown to manage bullying.
Parents have a great deal of power to stop bullying when it occurs.
If the incident occurred on school grounds, immediately contact the school and follow up regularly.
If the incident occurred off school grounds, contact the police. This is especially relevant in cases of physical bullying where assault or another crime has been committed.
For schools, parents should insist on a meeting with the principal and present all the evidence they have of bullying against their child, with a clear focus on how the bullying has violated the school’s anti-bullying policy.
Provide Support for Bullies
It can be hard to understand, but the best way to prevent bullying is by providing support for bullies. Understand why the child is choosing to bully their peers and make clear the ramifications of their actions.
The offending child must apologize to the victim and demonstrate a positive behavior change.
It is also important not to label a child as a bully. This can often become a self-fulfilling prophecy, wherein a child labeled as a bully becomes one.
If a child begins to show signs of bullying others, authority figures must use positive reinforcement to guide the child towards kinder tendencies.
Report Cyber Bullying
Many apps have an option to report cyberbullying directly to the developer. Most apps have developed methods to stop cyberbullying over their interfaces.
Reporting and blocking an offending account can do a great deal to help prevent online bullying. However cyber bullies can use different accounts to harass their victims.
To help combat this, parents should teach their children how to effectively combat cyberbullying instead of retaliation. It is better to report the bullying and take time away from the internet when cases occur.
Often, the bully will lose interest if they are repeatedly blocked and receive no response.
Better Childhood Mental Health with Child Focus
Bullying can affect mental well-being in a significant way. Repeated bullying and harassment can leave a child with self-esteem issues that last a lifetime.
Teaching your child to deal with bullying and building up their self-esteem are the best ways to ensure that your child can stand up to bullying should an incident arise.
For the best results, your children need better early education and access to resources.
At Child Focus, we offer just that. Our services include early learning, behavioral health, education and training for adults and parents, mental health services for both children and adults, and more.