Cyber-Bullying Is Your Child a Victim - Would You Know


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Cyber-bullying uses technology to spread rumors, hateful messages, excessive teasing or even disturbing digital photos (taken on camera phones). It’s a dreadfully harmful form of bullying and can be debilitating for its victims. As adults, we can quite easily delete and ignore offending or disturbing email and text messages, but children and teens cannot do this as easily. Children and teens need acceptance and thrive on reputation, so even one harmful message can make them feel horrible about themselves (and it rarely just stops at one message).

Cyber-bullying adds another dimension to bullying because the offender can stay anonymous. Many times children and teens are more likely to do things through technology that they would never do in person. They often don’t think past themselves, the computer and the keyboard. What’s even worse is they cannot see their victims, so they have know idea what kind of effect their messages are having on others. It makes it easier for them to continue bullying and to even take things too far.

There are many forms of cyber-bullying:

  • Sending cruel and threatening message directly to the victim.
  • Creating offensive websites about a person including mocking jokes, stories and pictures about the “subject”.
  • Posting pictures and asking others to make nasty comments about the person.
  • Taking derogatory photos in the locker rooms (often undetected with camera phones) and spreading them throughout the school.
  • Fighting with and stalking people by sending continuous messages.
  • Daring people to do things that they normally wouldn’t (or shouldn’t) be able to do… including suicide or participating in school violence.

    Victims of cyber-bullying suffer the same effects of victims of “traditional” bullying: low self-esteem, depression, problems with school achievement and behavior and the tendency to become bullies themselves. However, the extreme viciousness of online bullying can cause the effects to be so much worse for several reasons:

  • There is no escape from cyber-bulling. It can come at its victims 24 hours a day.
  • Bullying and rumors can be forwarded and viewed by so many people in so little time.
  • It’s quite possible and quite common that the victim doesn’t even know who the bully is.
  • Such constant and widespread bullying can break down a child or teenager emotions very quickly.

    There are many things you can do to help prevent your children from becoming victims of cyber-bullying:

  • Be especially sensitive to your child’s qualities that could make him or her a victim of bullying – anything that makes him or her stand out from the other kids such as obesity, low self-confidence or the inability or unwillingness to follow the social rules kids set up. Talk to your child about these characteristics (in a non-threatening way) and how you can minimize their effects on his or her schoolmates.
  • Teach your child the importance of not sharing sensitive personal information online because they never know who is on the other end of discussion. If they wouldn’t share it face-to-face, it shouldn’t be shared online.
  • Find activities that work increase your child’s self-esteem and confidence (such as martial arts).

    Just like traditional bullies look for and thrive on the reactions of their victims, cyber-bullies do the same. By giving your children the skills they need to keep their cool and the confidence they need to at least try to let this type of behavior roll off of their shoulders, you’ll be doing a lot in helping them become “cyber”-bully proof.

    For more information on this article or others go to Articles on Martial Arts Robert Jones runs three successful martial arts schools located in Bellevue, Lynnwood, and Kent Washington. He has been helping families make positive changes in their lives through martial arts for over 20 years. He has also written A Guide on How to Pick a Martial Arts School He can be reached at the Academy of Kempo Martial Arts. 800-508-6141. His schools can be found on the web at Bellevue Martial Arts and Self Defense.

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