Bullying of your children by their peers has occurred for hundreds of years in the schoolyards and playgrounds they frequent. With the growing popularity of the internet this has now escalated to proportions that many do not realize.
Cyber-Bullying has gained some exposure with some high profile cases going to court. The dangers of this new form of bullying are very real leading to many cases of Cyber-Bullying suicides. You can read stories all over the internet about bullycide victims.
In a recent study of school age children it was found that an alarming 33% of our children have been subjected to Cyber-Bullying. Of those who have experienced this abuse 41% never confided with anyone off of the internet about the events that occurred. Parents were never told of the abuse that was being targeted towards their child.
The cyber bully may verbally abuse your child on the internet in chat rooms, with the use of instant messengers, or through the use of email. They are relentless and will put constant pressure on your child hoping to break them down. This can cause extreme depression, the loss of self esteem and cause emotional scars that the victim will carry with him for a very long time.
The cyber bully may create a false identity to pretend he is your child on the internet and say or do things to embarrass your child or to ruin his reputation with his peers.
Some cyber bullies even go to the extent of publishing embarrassing photographs of your child. Some of these are real pictures your kid never imagined would be made public. Some are created with graphic programs like Photoshop to create false graphics depicting your child in some very awkward situations.
The bully we grew up with is nothing compared to the cyber bully. I read on one internet site earlier today the accounts of 14 children who were documented cases of bullycide victims. There are thousands of cases of Cyber-Bullying suicides that go unreported or that are not identified.
So what can we do as parents to help prevent our child from becoming a victim of this form of abuse?
Obviously if our child opens up to us and tells us of the Cyber-Bullying he is receiving on the internet we can try to intervene and put a stop to it. We can contact the parents of the cyber bully if their identity is known. We can contact the internet service provider of the mechanism being used to transfer this abuse.
We can also contact law enforcement officials to gain assistance.
If you child has been subjected to this type of abuse please do not underestimate the damages that might have been done to your child. He may need professional counseling to make sure he or she is not showing any signs of depression or lack of self esteem.
Unfortunately, as studies have shown, many of our children for one reason or another will never share with us what is going on. In these cases we need to be more proactive to make sure nothing is happening that needs our attention. We certainly do not want to risk our kid's name being added to the ever growing list of Cyber-Bullying suicides.