As social apps multiply, so do the battles against cyberbullies

As social apps multiply, so do the battles against cyberbullies

An alarming one million children were harassed, threatened or subjected to other forms of cyberbullying on Facebook over the course of a year, according to 2011 study performed by Consumer Reports. Another study done by the Cyberbullying Research Center used a random sample in the Midwest and found that 34.4 percent of children admitted to being cyberbullied just last year.

With the numbers increasing annually as technology becomes more and more important to society, many people still underestimate the effect cyberbullying can have on kids.

One in six parents knows their child has been bullied via social networking sites, according to the American Osteopathic Association.

Technology follows us everywhere. The simplicity of cyberbullying makes it almost effortless for kids to harass other kids online. It’s as easy as pushing a button or taking a screenshot of a text to share with all your friends. Your digital footprint is real; things don’t just disappear when you press the delete button.

Interestingly, kids realize cyberbullying is wrong, yet they still engage in it. Thirty-four percent of those who have had any engagement in cyberbullying have been both a cyberbully and been a victim of it.

There are many things parents can do to try and prevent children from being harassed.

“The best way for a parent to prevent a child from being cyberbullied is deciding at what age their kids can start using social media,” says Dr. Kris Umfress, a child psychologist at Advocate Children’s Hospital in Park Ridge, Ill. “There are so many different forms of it, and looking at their age and maturity level is a good start. When monitoring your child’s social media presence, do not be too obsessive. It also can be a good idea to make sure your child is taking a break from social media every once in a while. Time spent online may be taking away from the child’s schoolwork and social life.”

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health enews Staff
health enews Staff

health enews staff is a group of experienced writers from our Advocate Aurora Health sites, which also includes freelance or intern writers.