Cyberbullying: It Effects Our Children

From childhood up until teenage years, growing children can oftentimes experience some of the most difficult struggles they will face in their lifetimes. This isn’t because worse things tend to happen to teens, or even necessarily because teenagers are in an odd flux between parental dependence and independence. Rather, this is because the teenage brain is still growing, meaning that the teenagers’ experience is interpreted by an inherently flawed mind, that tends to magnify or distort situations that might not even be problematic.

Of course, situations that are problematic present an even greater risk to teens. One problem faced by today’s teens unique to current and future generations is cyberbullying. While this is a new problem, it isn’t an insignificant one. When problems like this can take up all of a teen’s even start effecting their education and social lives.

That’s why, without being too intrusive of course, parents should step in where possible to combat cyberbullying. This can range from running monitoring software to interacting with your child on social media. In either case, teens shouldn’t be left to their own devices online. While they should have some freedom, it should be moderated freedom rather than unbridled access to the limitless content of the web.

How to Recognize Cyberbullying

If you think your child might be facing their own cyberbully, but is too nervous or embarrassed to tell you, consider their online habits. Both increased and decreased usage of the internet could be the result of cyberullying, depending on your child’s individual case. Any offbeat or dejected emotions accompanying a change in internet usage patterns could be an indicator of cyberbullying.

What to Do About Cyberullying

Below are tips for parents of children who are being cyberbullied:

Teach confidence. While this can’t be the entirety of your cyberbullying prevention strategy, raising confident kids will better equip them to deal with bullies, both physical and digital, when the time comes.

Create safe spaces at home. By designating zones at home where technology is forbidden, children will feel that they have the capability to escape their bully. This is one way to support a cyberbullied teen without facing the issue directly.

Monitor Your Child’s Friend Requests. A good amount of the time, the bullies online are ones who your teen barely knows. This makes it easier for them to act in malicious ways. By encouraging your teen to only accept friend request from friends they truly know, this situation can be better avoided.

Save evidence. If it comes down to needing to involve the school or parents, take advantage of technology and save evidence. This will make things far easier down the line.

Helping Your Child

At the end of the day, your goal as a parent is to make sure your child is safe and content online. This can be a delicate balance, due to the fact that modern children and teens interact socially online nowadays. Limiting their internet use too much can put a damper on what may otherwise be a healthy, digital social life.

Ultimately, you should treat bullying online like bullying in person. While you can’t prevent them from encountering bullies in the real world, you can equip them to deal with the problem.

For more information, see the infographic below.

Cyberbullying info graphic







Technology To Fight Cyberbullying

With more exposure to social media outlets than ever, people, particularly kids, have taken advantage of an evolved form of bullying – cyberbullying. Cyberbullying isn’t your parents’ brand of face-to-face bullying that they may have experienced in their youth. Cyberbullying is just as malicious and encompasses everything from students picking on each other via social media to strangers across the globe hiding behind a keyboard while typing words of harassment. Although technology may have helped to spawn the alarming trend of cyberbullying, technology also poses a possible remedy. A number of apps and other forms of technology are available to help teachers, students and parents prevent it.

Here are four apps and/ or software programs designed to help combat cyberbullying.

Trend Micro Online Guardian: Trend Micro Online Guardian was founded by a mom who witnessed her daughter being cyberbullied and took great strides to correct matters. Online Guardian contains extensive computer controls for tracking popular social networking sites like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube. This software also offers instant messaging management and malware protection.

YouDiligence:  Parents can’t always be there firsthand to stop cyberbullying, but that doesn’t mean they can’t track instances of cyberbullying to help prevent future occurrences. YouDiligence allows parents to monitor their child’s social networking pages while specifically tracking keywords related to bullying, racial slurs, alcohol, profanity and more. With a list of more than 500 “alert” words and phrases that parents can edit based on their specifications, YouDiligence can email alerts to parents when any questionable activity occurs. These updates can then be emailed to parents and viewed via the online dashboard for easy tracking. Avira Social Network Protection

Avira Social Network Protection is another software program that was created as a result of a parent witnessing their child experience cyberbullying. Avira Social Network Protection, previously known as SocialShield, differentiates itself from other anti-cyberbullying programs by monitoring social networking sites to not only protect against bullying, but preserve a child’s reputation. It uses cloud-based software, making it accessible virtually anywhere via a computer or phone. Safety is recorded on a scale ranging from 1-10, with 1 being regarded as the most dangerous and 10 being safe and secure. It determines which posts, videos, threads and friends are deemed appropriate or run the risk of harming a child’s reputation.

STOPit:  Currently, only one out of ten cyberbullying victims inform an adult about their situation. With the STOPit app, developers and parents are trying to offer children a greater degree of freedom and empowerment by giving them the tools to attempt to halt cyberbullying themselves. STOPit allows children to take screenshots of malicious online behavior and send it to a customized selection of adults, such as teachers and parents. In the instance of older online predators, children who report problems remain anonymous, and the app offers local law enforcement alerts and easy access to 24/7 help lines.

With social networking sites constantly changing, updating and evolving, the Internet can seem like a playground for cyberbullies. However, with apps and software such as those mentioned above, helpful and preventative measures to combat cyberbullying are being developed – if not already here.

This article was provided by Drexel University Online, which specializes in innovative, Internet-based education programs for working professionals, organizations and corporations in the United States and abroad. For teachers and education professionals looking to advance their careers, Drexel offers a wide variety of accredited master’s degree programs online.

The Top 10 Anti Bullying Tips for Victims

IDENTIFY the difference between jokes and serious statements.

CHOOSE friends with caution. Friends can be bullies, too.

WALK AWAY because your self respect is important to your well-being.

ACCEPT an apology from a bully only when you feel they deserve it.

EXPRESS your feelings appropriately, don’t let it get to the point where you seek revenge.

DOCUMENT any acts of bullying that you observe because journaling can help in problem solving

PARTICIPATE in activities that you enjoy and that you do well.

SEEK HELP and don’t take overwhelming matters into your own hands.

ARCHIVE threatening text, emails, or facebook post in case they’re ever needed later.

FACE your fears by asking yourself what you are really afraid of.

10 Hardcore Signs That a Child is Being Cyber bullied

  1. Does the child spend long hours on the computer and or a mobile device?
  2. Does the child close his or her browser or mail windows immediately when an educator and/or parent enter the room?
  3. Is the child evasive when an educator and/or parent ask about his or her Internet activity
  4. Is the child’s history folder always cleaned out?
  5. Is the child less attentive in school or falling behind with school work and requirements?
  6. Are the child’s grades failing or getting worse?
  7. Has the child’s eating habits changes?
  8. Does the child frequently complain about stomachaches?
  9. Is the child openly fearful especially when friends are brought up?
  10. Is the child emotionally distant?

Dharun Ravi

If you follow the news and are involved in the anti bullying movement in New Jersey you will probably know this name well. If you don’t this name means nothing to you at all. Dharun Ravi is the young student who used a webcam to spy on his roommate Tyler Clementi having sex with a man in his dorm room at Rutgers University.  Ravi sent tweets of his findings on twitter to his followers humiliating, and embarrassing Clementi to the point that he took his own life by jumping off the George Washington Bridge in September of 2010. Ravi faced up to 10 years in prison for his actions. Before the jury went off to deliberate the case they were informed by Judge Berman of New Brunswick New Jersey that Mr. Clementi’s suicide was not relevant to the case they were considering. Ravi was found guilty of all 15 counts of invasion of privacy, biased intimidation and evidence and witness tampering on March 15. He was sentenced today (May 21, 2012) to 30 days in jail, 300 hours of community service, counseling on cyberbullying and alternative lifestyles, and a $10,000 probation fine to be used to help victims of bias crime.

After Tyler Clementi committed suicide the state of New Jersey passed the strictest harassment, intimidation, and bullying laws in the country. Schools were mandated to have anti bullying specialists, and coordinators. Investigation into acts of bullying was also mandated and schools were put on notice that they are going to be graded on how they handled bullying in their districts. The Anti Bullying Bill of Rights, which all schools must abide by, is the standard that other states look at and consider when they tackle the problem in their state.

Let’s back this up a bit and start considering what would have happened if Tyler Clementi didn’t take his life. Business as usual I guess, right? Does it take a tragedy like a suicide to make an entire culture understand how devastating harassment, intimidation, and bullying can be to its victims? How about Dharun Ravi? Supposed Clementi never said anything would anyone even know who he is right now? How many Dharun Ravi’s are there in society today who take the time to humiliate, harass and intimidate? It is amazing to me that we have to have a law that says we have to treat others with kindness and respect. More importantly how we consider stricter laws after a tragedy.

The sentencing is what it is. Dharun Ravi didn’t kill Tyler Clementi, the judge made that clear by calling the suicide irrelevant; Irrelevant to whom? Certainly not to Clementi’s family or those that loved him. Ask Dharun Ravi if Clementi’s suicide was irrelevant? Dharun Ravi wasn’t sentenced today; he was sentenced in September of 2010 the day that Clementi took his life. I have often said that consequences take on many forms. Dharun will serve his time and pay the fine, he will do his community service and it’s over right? Wrong; I don’t care whether he displayed remorse in court or not. He has lost his freedom albeit not physically. He will be emotionally and mentally bound in chains for the rest of his life. His own conscious will see to it.