As you know, bullying is a problem that students all across the country face every day. Increasingly, in this digital age much of the bullying takes place online rather than in person. Over 40% of teens (13-17 years old) have been bullied online – 25% report it has happened more than once. Today being National Stop Bullying day, AT&T wants to highlight ways that parents and teens can identify cyberbullying and help put an end to it.
·Recognize context – Teens may not recognize certain forms of online harassment as cyberbullying. When discussing cyberbullying consider use terms such as “digital cruelty” “being mean” online or “abuse” as a way to help young people better understand what cyberbullying behavior looks like.
·Know when the line is crossed – Help your teen tune into his or her own feelings and recognize when an interaction online has gone too far. If they feel emotionally or physically scared, it’s time to get help.
·Encourage empathy – Help teens understand the detrimental impact of cyberbullying on people who are targeted, now and later in life. Encourage them to listen to the targets of bullying and to become their allies.
·Be realistic – Teens may not want their social dynamics infiltrated by parents, which can make helping them directly difficult. Encourage teens to find friends or other trusted adults to help them through the situation. Reporting an incident to a website administrator can also be an empowering step.
·Bullied can become the bully – Teens can take different roles in cyberbullying at different times. A teen who is cyberbullied might turn around and cyberbully someone else to feel powerful again. Ask questions to understand what role or roles your teens are playing.
·Disengage – Encourage your teens to ignore or block the bully, and even take a break from the web for a while. Point out that cyberbullies are often just looking for attention and status, so don’t let them know that their efforts have worked.
Since 2015 AT&T has been involved with making the web safer for everyone through the Digital You campaign which offer tools, tips, apps, guidance and events for people of all ages and levels of online experience to learn more about how to have a safe and secure online experience.