Bullying, Teasing, and the Cyberworld

Lourdes Valdes, Ph.D.

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Bullying is an extremely common experience for children and adolescentes. With the popularity of social media, those who bully can use cell phones, texts, and social sites, such as Facebook or Instagram, to intentionally hurt or embarrass others. Parents need to be aware that:

1) Electronic safeguards can be very helpful but they are no substitute for good parental role modeling, supervision, and guidance, 2) Keeping the computer in a public place in the home (such as the game room or the kitchen allows you to stay more in touch with how your child or adolescent is spending his/her time online, and 3) Often children and adolescents do not tell their parents if they are being cyberbullied fearing that their parents will take away the technology used to bully them; if kids have a goodrelationship with their parents and know that their parents will neither over nor under react, they are more likely to share their experiences with them.

Children and adolescents should be aware of the following:

1) By being on the internet, they open up or increase the possibility that other kids will use the internet against them, 2) Never reply to the online bullying or offensive texting, 3) Show the message to an adult (parent, teacher, youth group leader, school administrator, or police), 4) Block any messages from the sender if possible.

Our children live in a very technologically advanced world that we adults would  never have imagined at their age; however, it is important for us and them to control the technology instead of being controlled by it.


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