No one is immune to online harassment. No matter what your age, race or religion – you can quickly fall victim to vicious keystrokes within seconds.
According to a Cox Communications Survey, 81 percent of young people think bullying online is easier to get away with than bullying in person. This makes sense since cowards use the easy way of not facing their victims through a screen – whether it is a cellphone or computer.
About 58 percent of kids admit someone has said mean or hurtful things to them online. More than 4 out 10 say it has happened more than once.
90 percent of teens who have seen social media bullying say they have ignored it. 84 percent have seen others tell cyberbullies to stop.
Only 1 in 10 victims will inform a parent or trusted adult of their abuse, this needs to turn around. When a child holds this emotional pain inside of them, it can come out in many different negative ways such as sadness, withdrawn from family and friends, failing grades, loneliness, etc.
Why kids don’t tell their parents they’re being bullied online?
1) Fear of consequences: Your child’s online existence is a critical part of their social life. With all their friends online, being excluded would be devastating them. They don’t want to risk you banning them from their friends and their digital lives.
2) Humiliation and embarrassment: Our kids are human and have feelings. Although some kids portray a tough persona and believe they are invincible, deep down everyone feels hurt by cruel keystrokes. Your child may fear looking stupid or weak. If the incident gets reported to their school, will they be able to face their classmates? Imagine the horror of a child hearing from peers after being bullied that they somehow deserved it, brought it on themselves or should have just toughened it out rather than be a snitch.
3) Fear of making it worse: We have taught our children well so they understand that bullies are looking for attention. By reporting the incident of cyberbullying to a parent, your child may fear it could anger the bully and make matters worse for them online. In some cases bullies will enlist more online trolls to cyber-mob your child. Of course the child’s dreaded fear is his or her parent reporting it to their school or camp and more people knowing whereby they become a possible target in the future.
What can you do to help your child?
1) Speak openly and frequently about online bullying and abuse. Don’t wait for national headlines to have conversations. Make it part of your daily chat. When you ask your child if they have homework, ask them how their cyber-life is going that day too.
2) Listen. Sometimes we are so busy talking we forget to hear. Let your child talk, let them complete their story, don’t interject your two cents while they are speaking. Give them the respect you expect them to give you.
3) Reiterate to them, it’s not their fault. Being a victim of a cyberbully is not their fault. Remind them you are not going to judge them or blame them. Assure them that you will not revoke their Internet privileges or take away their phone if they are cyberbullied.