Has your child ever been a victim of a cyber bully? Would you even know if they had? Most parents would not know. Cyber bullying is quite a new trend and most cases are never reported to law enforcement. Polls and surveys are showing that incidents are increasing exponentially, and it is time for parents to sit up and take notice. One in ten youngsters state that they have had an embarrassing photo taken of them via cellphone and that photo was used to publicly humiliate and embarrass them. One in three young people report that they have been the recipient of cyber threats or negative messages via text, email or social network websites. A cyber bully is usually an acquaintance or classmate, who, in response to a real or imagined slight, attempts to take revenge on the object of their malice through a smear campaign using electronic media. The culprit will often enlist the help of other peers to "gang up" on the victim and flood their text and email inbox with negative and even threatening messages. These messages can have a lasting and damaging effect on the fragile psyche of an adolescent child. This type of bullying has been blamed for the rise in teen suicide attempts in recent years.
The victims of malice behaviour can become agitated, withdrawn, depressed and angry. If parents notice a change in youngsters' behavior, they should do their utmost to determine the cause. In previous years, failing grades and mood changes might have indicated drug use. Isolation and depression along with social changes can be an indicator of substance abuse, but can also be the effects of cyber bullying. There is a feeling of shame and embarrassment that goes along with this type of victimization. Parents must intervene at the first sign of anything amiss. Communicating with your youngster about bullying in all forms is crucial to putting a stop to the problem. Reassure your young person that they do not deserve to be treated this way, and that you will do all you can to stop the problem and bring the cyber bully to justice. Help your youngster to take all the steps necessary to rid him/herself of the presence of the cyber bully, and they should help bring this perpetrator to justice so it does not happen to anyone else. Show your child that you are on his side in this matter, and that cyber bullying will not be tolerated.