This year, Chartwells K12 and Prevent Child Abuse America are partnering to educate students, parents and the community on strategies to #JustStandUp to bullying. Over the next several weeks, we will share tips and tools to help you and your students navigate this rising source of bullying behavior. But first – let’s talk facts.
What is cyberbullying and who does it impact?
With most youth receiving their first smartphone by the age of 11 and teenagers spending, on average, 10 hours a day in front of a screen – smartphone, desktop, tablet or gaming device cyber safety has risen to become a primary health concern for parents. In addition to using the Internet for school research, the majority of adolescents use social media to stay connected with friends and to learn what is happening in their friends’ lives.
While the number of children and youth reporting victimization by cyberbullying remains lower than those reporting bullying by a more traditional method, (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) the use of social media signifies the aggression has the potential to spread anonymously beyond the classroom, cafeteria, or locker room to a much wider audience1.
According to the National Cyberbullying Research Center, any form of electronic technology used to harass, harm or intimidate can be considered cyberbullying. Among the various methods that cyberbullies use include:
- Sending negative messages over text, email or a social media account
- Spreading rumors over the Internet
- Displaying hurtful messages online about another individual
- Stealing account information to post damaging material as another person
- Taking or circulating unwanted pictures of an individual2
The highest reported method of cyberbullying is through spreading rumors online (19.4%), followed by mean or hurtful comments online (12.8%)3. Research also indicates that girls are more likely to be cyberbullied than boys, with 38% of girls reporting cyberbullying as compared to 26% of boys reporting these same behaviors.4
Online bullying can result in a variety of short and long-term physical and mental health consequences. In addition to potential changes in sleep and eating patterns, youth who experience bullying often experience a loss of interest in activities they used to enjoy, as well as increased feelings of sadness and loneliness and in severe cases, depression and anxiety.
Over the coming months, Chartwells and Prevent Child Abuse America will provide you with concrete strategies to make sure your students remain safe in the digital world and to help you promote positive digital citizenship.
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- Brohl, K. (2015). Identifying and addressing cyber bullying. Social Work Continuing Education, pp. 57-73. Retrieved from SocialWork.EliteCME.com
- Hinduja, S., & Patchin, J. (2015). Cyberbullying victimization 2015. Cyberbullying Research Center. Retrieved from http://cyberbullying.org/2015-data/cyberbullying-victimization-2015-2/
- Lenhart, A. (2007) Cyberbullying. Pew Research Center. Retrieved online.