Cyberbullying is hurting our kids. Nearly one in two youth have experienced online bullying in the last four weeks.
Cyberbullying may not be something we grew up with, but it’s a massive concern for kids growing up in the social media age. Just over a third of Canadian kids and teens say that someone has said something mean or cruel to them online, and just under a third say that someone has threatened them online. More surprisingly, approximately one quarter of Canadian children admit that they have been mean to someone else online.
Fortunately, almost three quarters of Canadian youth who see cyberbullying want to do something about it – and it’s our job as parents to help empower them to safely intervene and stand up to cyberbullying when they see it happening. Further, as parents and educators, we need to be aware of the signs of cyberbullying and take an active role in helping youth rise above it. It really does take a village, and here are some messages that show the power of intervention.
Unfortunately, bullying of any kind is a complicated issue to navigate, but when you react to cyberbullying in the right way you can make a big difference. If you’re unsure if your children are experiencing cyberbullying, here are a few red flags to look out for:
• A reluctance to use the computer, cell phone or go to school
• Being hyper-vigilant about the cell phone and/or social networking accounts
• Being upset or aggravated after using cell phones or computers
• General anxiety, distress and sleeplessness
• Withdrawnness from friends and usual activities
It can be so difficult for kids and teens to come forward when they are being bullied even if they’re normally open about what they’re going through. Don’t take it personally; instead try to build trust and remain calm. Stay positive, acknowledge what they are dealing with, and avoid minimizing their feelings about the situation.
It’s important not to forbid your child from going online or using their cell phone in the hope of eliminating the source of the problem. This might leave your child feeling more vulnerable and victimized and is often one of the biggest reasons why youth are afraid to get help in the first place.
For a complete guide to addressing cyberbullying with your kids, you can download TELUS’ Rise Above resources for parents HERE.
Together, we can help youth #RiseAbove cyberbullying. This year, TELUS is driving awareness of cyberbullying to help create better lives for our kids, both online and in real life. The campaign aims to empower youth to combat online negativity.
To learn more, visit TELUS HERE.