It’s that time of year again – we’re back in the school routine! Hopefully many students and parents are happy to see friends and develop new skills, but there is also a growing concern about cyber bullying.
Rightfully so, considering almost 43% of kids have been bullied online and only 1 in 10 victims will report the abuse to a parent or trusted adult.
So why is cyber bullying such an epidemic? If you think about it, bullying has been around forever, but add the modern advancements in technology and we’ve opened a whole new can of worms. No longer does it only exist on the playground; nowadays, both the bullies and the bullied have 24/7 access and exposure. Additionally, bullying behind a screen is much easier on the conscience. This is because the part of the brain that is activated during face-to-face interactions, monitoring social cues and appropriate emotional response, is not present during online communication. In other words, kids don’t have to see painful facial expressions or read defeated body language when it’s all in cyber space, making them feel less accountable.
What can parents do?
1. First of all, keep communication open. If you and your child or teen have honest, open communication patterns, they will be more open to coming to you for help.
2. Keep clear rules when it comes to social media and phone usage. Set time limits, and keep phones out of their rooms at night.
3. Teach your child about maintaining positive, kind communication with their friends on social media.
4. Most importantly, pay attention. You know your child the best and if something seems “off” then it’s definitely worth exploring. Ask questions and let your child know you’re always there to talk.
If you are concerned about your child’s specific situation, please call or email us. We’re here to help.
Here’s to your Well Being!
Kendall Klas, LCSW