As parents of happy, well adjusted children, parents may think that bullying is something that happens only to others’ children; however cyber bullying may be more subtle, and far more rampant than parents may think it to be.
Roughly 50% of American teens are affected by cyber bullying, according to the National Crime Prevention Council, which explains how cyber bullying or online bullying works:
- People pretend to be other people online so as to trick kids
- They then spread rumors and lies about the victims
- Mean messages in the form of cell phone texts or other messages are sent about the person
- Pictures of the person are posted with or without their knowledge but without consent
- Bullies also trick kids into revealing personal information about themselves
Many may think that cyber bullying is not a big deal; many think that it’s just funny and inconsequential; but this is not so. This kind of bullying can be faceless and vicious since the perpetrator thinks he or she won’t get caught, with a result that the victim can feel scared, embarrassed, angry, hurt and helpless.
Consider the following statistics of cyber bullying that were revealed by a survey –
- As many as 42% of children have experienced online bullying and as many as 25% have experienced it more than once.
- More than one third of children have been threatened online, with 20% being threatened more than once.
- Mean or threatening email messages, text messages and so on are another problem, with one in five kids suffering this form of bullying.
- 58% of all children say that something hurtful or mean has been said about them or to them online and worryingly 58% of those kids did not tell an adult about this hurtful online activity.
- A Canadian survey revealed that a very significant proportion of middle school children had been bullied in chat rooms and/or by email and even by cell phone text messages.
- More than 40 percent of the kids did not know the identity of those who were responsible for the bullying.
So clearly cyber bullying is not something that parents can ignore or hope will go away; this is something that parents may ignore to their child’s potentially serious detriment.
It would be naïve and shortsighted to think that kids can deal with this and need no intervention – parents need to be vigilant about cyber bullying and look for tell tale signs of it, since kids don’t volunteer information about this on their own easily.