In times gone by it was probably disguised as some other name however bullying has always existed in one form or another. There used to be a time however, not so long ago, before the explosion of technology and social media applications, when bullying and the need for dealing with bullies was only limited to when the victim was actually in the physical presence of the bully.
Once you made it back to your fortress of solitude (your home) and away from the bully at school or work, you were “safe!” The bullies couldn’t touch you in any way whatsoever aside from the phone and you of course had a choice to answer that and you could just hang up if you wanted to! Now, unfortunately we have Cyberbullying and it is a form of bullying that far extends beyond the scope, reach and influence of a physically close, in person bully.
Many people would hold the opinion that bullying is actually a normal part of growing up, a right of passage that builds character if you will. Today’s form of bullying however has become something very different and has far more tragic consequences.
Cyberbullying allows those nasty and damaging comments and actions from the school yard or your workplace and then via the supposedly helpful technology of today’s must have cell phones and the Internet, to infiltrate the lives of bullying victims which makes them vulnerable 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
We cannot scoff or sound false alarms about this as the potential dangers of cyberbullying are indeed very real and affecting massive amounts of our kids and each other every single day. The impacts can range from seemingly low self-esteem issues, all the way to the ultimate consequence – suicide.
A survey was compiled of 4441 random children and teenagers from nearly 40 schools in the US in February of 2010, regarding cyberbullying and technology. These children were aged between 10 and 18 years of age. Below are some of the statistics out of that survey.
Use of Technology
• 83% of the kids use cell phones
• 47.1% use cell phones at school
• 40.5% take pictures with cell phones
• 31.5% go online with cell phones
• 50.1% use Facebook
• 37.7% use MySpace
• 11.5% use YouTube
• 6.5% use Twitter
• 20.8% of the kids have been cyberbullied in their lifetime
• 17% have been cyberbullied at least once in the previous 30 days
• 13.3% have been cyberbullied by rumors online
• 14.3% have been cyberbullied by mean or hurtful comments online
• 7.2% have been threatened online
By being aware of these statistics and drilling down in your family, you will begin to understand the reality of cyberbullying and its potential dangers to kids’ mental health and well-being. Having this knowledge on hand if a great help when it comes to protecting your children.
Sad but true, cyberbullying is here, and probably to stay. Also, its reach is so deep and the effects can be so tragic however we can and will fight this dreadful epidemic!
Be there for your children and or friends and let them know you love them and that they can always rely on you. Monitor Facebook, Twitter and mobile phones. It is not an invasion of privacy, it is concern for their welfare!
Also make sure you are aware and also take necessary action regarding the above cyberbullying statistics. Knowledge is power but only if used…
Our children deserve us as parents and guardians to do all we can and learn as much as possible about bullies and bullying.
Our support, education and love will ensure they get through any issues of bullying confidently and more importantly, safely.