Now that it’s summer, many kids are spending their time at home with their families, away from the pressures of school.
Kids who are often bullied at school might breathe a sigh of relief, but in today’s digital age, even being physically removed from someone does not mean they can’t still bully. Parents need to be aware of the prevalence of cyberbullying and do all they can to prevent it.
Bullying from a Distance
The days of the schoolyard bully who steals people’s lunches are long gone. What is common today, and even more damaging, is the cyberbully. Kids today can harass others from the secrecy of their own bedroom through texts, emails and Facebook posts. The kids receiving the degrading messages often do so in the privacy of their own home, where others are not present to witness the bullying.
The secrecy and personal nature of cyberbullying make it particularly harmful. While the records of messages can be traced, the person being bullied rarely lets others know there is a problem. Instead, many kids internalize the harmful words and suffer in silence for years.
Bullying Leads to Depression
Bullying of any kind can lead to mental health problems. Mental health conditions such as depression and thoughts of suicide are up to 3 times higher among kids that are bullied. Kids need parents who are alert and connected enough to see the signs that their child is being bullied. Instead of letting the problem continue and cause the child’s grades to drop, social life to suffer, and mental health to spin out of control, parents should take action and put an end to bullying.
Parents can help prevent bullying by limiting the time their kids spend on mobile devices and the Internet. Children should be taught to use these things cautiously, to not give their personal information out to others, and to work to build real relationships outside of cyberspace.