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The Dangers of Cyberbullying

Updated on August 19, 2014

Cyber Bullying is Extremely Harmful

What is Cyber Bullying?

Most people by now are familiar with the term "cyber bullying", but if you find yourself asking the question "What is cyber bullying exactly?"- it is a legal term used to describe any form of harassment or intimidation done over the internet. The harassment and/or intimidation must be intentional, ongoing and done in a hostile manner to qualify as cyber bullying.

Cyber bullying is a huge problem and is becoming a growing epidemic among children. With the increase of social media and internet use among people of all ages rising each year, cyber bullying cases continue to skyrocket as well.

Often, the most common offenders of cyber bullying are the ones you would least expect. This is because when they are behind a computer, they feel that they have more power and wind up saying harsher, more offensive things than they would actually say to someone in public. Sometimes these people are referred to as "keyboard commandos"- people who are braver behind a keyboard than they are face to face.

Cyber bullying can be devastating to a child's self-esteem and can have lasting consequences on their mental health, their ability to interact socially, and their ability to perform in the classroom. In some extreme cases, cyber bullying has even led to suicide.

Children and teenagers aren't the only victims of cyber bullying- adults have also been found to be victims as well as culprits of cyber bullying.

Talk to Your Children About Bullying

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Side Effects of Cyber Bullying

There are many side effects of cyber bullying, and they vary from victim to victim. Typically the lasting side effects of this type of bullying depends on the length of time the person is bullied combined with the intensity of the bullying. Side effects range all the way from mild depression and social anxiety to suicidal tendencies. Some of the side effects associated with cyber bullying include:

  • Increased Depression
  • Lack of Interest in Hobbies
  • Poor Performance in School or on the Job
  • Increased Anger and/or Hostility
  • Low Self-Esteem
  • Alcohol and Drug Problems
  • Suicidal Thoughts

Preventing Cyber Bullying

Recently, cyber bullying has become illegal in New York, Rhode Island, Missouri, Rhode Island and Maryland. Forty five other states have digital harassment laws in place in the event an extreme situation arises.

  • Talk to Your Children About Bullying
  • Be Aware of What Your Kids Are Doing Online
  • Educate Your Children About the Internet
  • Check Privacy Settings of Social Media Platforms Your Children Use

Does Your Child Seem Depressed?

Look for signs that cyber bullying may be going on.
Look for signs that cyber bullying may be going on. | Source

Bullying Poll for Parents

Have you talked to your kids about bullying and cyber-bullying?

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How to Tell if Someone is Being Bullied

Although cyber bullying is a growing epdimic, many parents turn deaf ear to it. In fact, some don't even know what is cyber bullying.

A report done by the Pew Institute found that at least 53% of kids are bullied online, with 35% of children being bullied on a regular basis.

The effects of bullying are devastating on children, but the earlier you notice the problem, the easier it is to stop it.

The Virus of Cyberbullying

What to Do About Cyber Bullying

If you find out that your child or someone you know is a victim of cyber bullying, that person should be reported to the appropriate authorities immediately. Whether you contact the principal if it is a child, or the cops if it is an adult, it is crucial that these bullies get reported because odds are, the victim you know is not their only victim. Believe it or not, cyber bullies can even be reported to online service providers.

If you or your child is being victimized online, there are steps you should take immediately (after reporting the offender):

  • Block the Person- If you are being bullied on a social media site, it is usually easy to block the person using the security settings on the website. If this is possible, you should block the bully as soon as possible. If the bully isn't using a website where you can easily block them, contact the web host and request their help- they may be able to assist you if you explain your situation.
  • Don't Respond to the Person- If you can't block the bully right away, it is best to just ignore them. If you engage them, you are just fueling the fire and are putting yourself at higher risk of getting further harassed. Until you can block them completely, just ignore them completely. They want to get under your skin. If they feel like they aren't doing that, they may even back away.
  • Print Evidence of the Bullying- Don't delete harassing text messages, emails or other forms of cyber bullying. Always print them out so that you have tangible evidence against the bully. Time stamped, dated copies of the information is always best.

Is Your Child a Victim of Bullying?

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    • Kathleen Odenthal profile image
      Author

      Kathleen Odenthal Romano 3 years ago from Bayonne, New Jersey

      I think cyberbullying is just awful, and kids to afraid to talk about it just makes the issue worse. We need to remove the stigma so people will come out from the shadows and talk about what is going on. Children these days lack respect, and although I was bullied in grade school, bullying was VERY different back then. I don't know if I could handle being a kid now-a-days.

    • Cre8tor profile image

      Dan Robbins 3 years ago from Ohio

      Some very good pointers on dealing with Cyber Bullies. The changing times...bullying isn't new but of course when I was growing up and someone was saying nasty things, only those in close proximity were aware of my embarrassment. Now, hundreds of people see and hear these things in an instant. It's no wonder the victims are more devastated today than those of yesteryear. All my kids have devices but have been heavily warned of the dangers and consequences if abuse. Knock on wood, we haven't had any issues with bullying or being bullied. Only about 8 years to go!