This past year, with Covid-19, cyberbullying was on the rise. With internet users turning to their screens more often while inside, cyberbullies were working hard to infiltrate your home with scathing remarks.
Why Cyberbullying Is So Insidious 24/7
- Users can remain anonymous and hide behind their screens.
- Because of social media, the cyberstalker can reach a much larger audience, thus creating more venom to the individual.
- The stalker can use language on the computer by texting, online chatting over the internet and in online chat rooms, message boards, that he would never have the guts to say face-to-face.
- The computer will spread the news faster.
- Every time the victim logs in, he sees the negative, hurtful words.
- The fall-out may make the victim depressed and hopeless.
To see how pervasive cyberbullying is, look at these figures reported by teens:
- 60% of teens have experienced some sort of cyberbullying.
- 70% of teenagers have reported someone spreading rumors about them online.
- 87% of young people have seen cyberbullying occurring online.
Did you know that:
- Of all the social networks, kids on youtube are the most likely to be cyberbullied at 79%.
- Snapchat at 69%.
- TikTok at 64%.
- Facebook at 49%.
While you may feel your home is being invaded 24/7 by bullies and you can’t be impervious to their online messages, you can take steps to thwart the offender:
- Tell your child to be natural. Never impersonate others.
- Keep personal information private. Don’t give out your location or password to anyone.
- Create a strong password not the name of your dog, and/or easy numbers such as 1234, for example.
- To feel safe, you can block certain individuals.
- Tell your child that he should discuss with you or a trusted adult the alarming behavior online.
Tactics to Employ Immediately:
- Don’t retaliate with the bully. Don’t forward cyberbullying messages.
- Keep a record for the police. Save and print screen shots, emails and text messages as well as gaming communities.
- Report to law enforcement: threats of violence, child pornography, sexually explicit messages of photos, stalking and hate crimes.
- Report evidence of cyberbullying to the web and cell phone providers.
- Taking a photo or video of someone in a place where he/she would expect privacy. Perhaps, one of the most famous examples of invasion of privacy occurred in 2010:
- Tyler Clementi, a gay student, was the victim of cyberbullying at Rutgers University in 2010. His roommate taped him having “intimate encounters” with men. The roommate then made the tape public on the internet. This cyberbullying led to Tyler’s suicide; he jumped off the George Washington Bridge.
October is National Prevention Month. October 13 is National Bullying Prevention Day. See how you can raise awareness by educating other parents and especially your children!
When Your Child Is Gay: What You Need To Know
For more detailed advice, see book, co-authored with a mother of a gay son and a psychiatrist, Jonathan L. Tobkes, M.D.