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It’s a common scene at your house: your teen has her head buried in her phone. Gone are the days when a teens' social life existed only in school hallways , the mall and friends’ houses. But as their social lives have moved online, so has a new kind of bully.
Cyberbullies use the internet, cell phones, video game systems, or other technology to send or post text or images intended to hurt or embarrass another person. They so this by threatening, excluding, spreading rumors or tricking their victims.
According to data from the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), 43 percent of teens have been victims of cyberbullying in the last year.
In some ways, cyberbullying can be more damaging than physical bullying. It can be harsher. People tend to be crueler online than they are face-to-face. It can be far reaching. With a few clicks, a bully’s message can reach the whole internet. What worse, cyberbullying has invaded the comfort and safety of our homes. And, your teen may not even know who the bully is.
How do you know if your teen is being cyberbullied? The biggest red flag is a withdrawal from technology. If you notice a sudden change in your teen’s computer or phone usage, talk to her. Kids who are being cyberbullied often feel too embarrassed to speak up.
Be on the lookout for these warning signs that your teen is being cyberbullied:
Parents can take steps to prevent cyberbullying before it starts or becomes worse. The National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) offers these tips to keep your teen cyber-safe:
How do you raise a kind kid, not a bully? Bullying is learned. This means it can be unlearned or prevented. Learn how to not raise a bully.
Are you worried your child is a victim of cyberbullying? Explore behavioral health resources, including counseling and programs for adolescents.
October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Learn how to get involved.
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