Cyberbullying is a digital epidemic that has been plaguing the digital screens of our kids exponentially. Around half of the teen population has been using cell phones on a regular basis and this has really escalated the outreach of bullies.
The appalling news is: Tween girls are the biggest victims of online abuse. The results of a study by the Cyberbullying Research Centre has revealed that girls who are under the age of 10 suffer from cyberbullying in a disproportionate amount, which is considerably higher than any other demographic that has been using portable technology like cell phones, tablets, etc.
Cyberbullying 101: What parents need to know about cyberbullying
Cyberbullying is just like any other form of bullying, but in this case, the platform goes digital. Rather than people abusing each other on their face, they opt for Facebook, Instagram, and other social networks, and even a wide range of other technologies. Some examples of cyberbullying include:
- Leaving threatening and disturbing text or voice messages.
- Spreading false rumors about others on online channels.
- Making aggressive and intimidating comments on others photos, videos and statuses.
- Signing up with rogue identities in order to harass others.
- Distributing someone’s personal and unflattering photos and videos online.
- Breaking into a person’s social media account or emails and using their personal information to blackmail them.
This form of bullying takes different forms just like verbal and physical bullying that could be relational, direct, or indirect. Cyberbullying usually involves use of subtle tactics to design a threatening message that would mentally disturb the target person, leaving them in absolute despair.
The mental health of teens and tweens can sever abruptly when they fail to understand what’s happening with them. The depressive state that they get into could sometimes force them to self-mutilate or even think about killing themselves.
And if it’s the tween girls who suffer the most, then it’s necessary that we find out the reasons, implications and solutions to fight back cyberbullying amongst teen girls.
How Cyberbullying varies between boys and girls?
Cyberbullying isn’t affecting girls and boys equally. In fact, 26 percent of the reported bullying cases involved girls while only 17 percent involved boys [source: CRC]. And where boys use more verbal psychical and verbal aggression, girls tend to stick with passive-aggressive forms.
Well, anthropologically, cyberbullying acts as a perfect platform for the girls to use passive form of aggression, because of their subtle use of language and relationships. Technology like social media and texting provides easier means for girls to express their animosity towards their peers and even other genders.
Cyberbullying: How it affects girls?
The subtlety of cyberbullying amongst girls doesn’t make it any less threatening. The girls who have been victims of cyberbullying have to face its effects both at school and home. This makes total sense as electronic devices have made the dissemination of information possible, quicker and farther. In addition, many cyberbullies stay anonymous, thus making it hard to track them down. This anonymity could sometimes lead to more catastrophic results out of bullying.
Tween girls have to go through a myriad of emotions as a consequence to cyberbullying. In some extreme cases, the results could intensify to such an extent that some tween girls end up with a suicidal behavior.
What can parents do about their tween girls mental and physical health?
My heart aches when I receive terrible emails from parents discussing their tween and teen girls’ perverse physical and mental health; it seems like parents have no idea who to get to for help. Parents whose daughters have been bullied need to give some extra time and attention to their kids. If your child’s physical or mental health is aggravating, resort to a health specialist like a psychiatrist or psychologist ASAP to get them help. Sometimes, parents may even have to take a much closer watch on their kids who have been experiencing suicidal thoughts.
Getting help from a professional health expert would help them get over with the past bullying experiences. But your job doesn’t end here; you have to ensure that your kids are making sensible choices in the future that would minimize any possibility of bullying. When kids are going to use technology like emails, computer programs or social media channels, parents should teach their tweens girls how they could be careful. These are a few things that you have to teach your tweens about the use of technology.
- Do not share out personal information with anyone online.
- Do not tell others your passwords, and make sure they are complicated enough not to be easily guessed.
- If you don’t want to be bullied, avoid bullying others. It’s tit for tat. If you are nice with others, your peers will think twice before harassing others. This includes refraining from leaving damaging comments on others’ websites, blogs or profiles.
- Block people immediately who are rude or abusive to you.
- Internet is not a private place where you can share your personal life. So avoid sharing your personal photos, videos or audio on social media.
- If you receive any threatening or damaging messages, share them with your parents rather than deleting or keeping themselves to you.
Limit digital time
Digital education of your kids is important but as a parent, you would also have to take a few measures to ensure that their screen time is limited—the less time your kids will be spending with their phones, computers and tablets, the lesser will be the online risks. You can put limits on your kids’ use of technology and you can do that using Trackmyfone.
Parents should have a complete access to their tweens and teens’ online world to prevent cyberbullying. This is the kind of transparency that will help you deal with any sort of opportunities leading to cyberbullying amongst your kids.
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