cyberbullying

Bullying Does Not Always Occur in Person

Bullying Does Not Always Occur in Person

It is uncommon to see children, teens and young adults without some form of technology. From 6th grade on up it is surprising to see a person without a smartphone. Although technology has enhanced so many areas of our lives, for some children it can be another source for bullies to get to them. When many of us were growing up the term “cyberbullying” would have only been heard of in science fiction movies and shows. In today’s world, cyberbullying is rampant and young people who struggle with ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, anxiety, depression and more are easy targets because of their social and perceptual challenges.

Cyberbullying is often described as a form of bullying that happens online, through texts, or emails. One of the reasons for the increase is the lack of accountability, people are not face-to-face which makes gossip and criticism much easier to conduct. I am asked by young people and their families on a weekly basis how to handle this type of bullying. I thought it time to give a few suggestions to help those young people and families, with or without “special needs”, to repel bullies.

Parent and professionals alike can help young people:

  • Think about anything you want to post online and even have someone else check it out first.
  • Don’t assume that something you posted will be treated as confidential communication, we never know what others will forward.
  • Being kind to others online will help to keep you safe
  • Use common sense in what is shared, do not share anything that could be deemed hurtful or embarrassing to you or others.
  • NEVER give passwords to other young people, they can pretend to be you online and do serious damage to your reputation and credibility.
  • Do share your passwords with your parents or other trusted adult.
  • Only share posts with trusted friends, do not share a post with the entire Internet, there are people who are very good with acquiring critical information that can be used to harm others.
  • A stranger is anyone you do not know. An online acquaintance is not a friend, you only know what they want you to know about them.
  • Privacy settings let you control who sees what.
  • Children (those under 18) should not have unlimited access to the Internet or any “apps”.
  • Children (those under 18) should not have access to their phones or other technology after bedtime. Too many teens are staying up much of the night texting or on social media, unsupervised.
  • Parents talk to your children about cyberbullying and how they can prevent being cyber-victims.
  • If all else fails, parents seek professional help, the damage done by any type of bullying can and often does have life-long consequences for our children.

Dr. Eric Nach, Ph.D., M.Ed., A.S.D. Certified
Developmental and Behavioral Specialist

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