Dear Parents…. In case you aren’t aware, many young ones are using their smartphones not only to send nudes (child porn) but to keep nudes so they could use them as revenge material against their peers at some point. I can understand life is crazy busy, but how can we stay irrelevant as to what’s happening? When my 12-year-old first enlightened me to the fact that no less than 50% of her peers were involved in sexting (sending nude videos and images) and 80% were involved in saving and further disseminating the content it came as a bolt from the blue to me. I was completely raged and felt the urgent need to let other parents know what’s happening behind their back.
Bullying is Nothing New But….
Bullying isn’t new, especially for teens, and though it’s always been dreadful for the victims, it takes a new slant every time technology springs forward. What was once meant to connect and share with others also becomes a means to torture and shame. The easy connections mean there is always a new story to talk about as the tales come and go quickly. However, it also means that incidents can be shared and spread faster than ever before. We have long past the epoch of traditional telephone, an old receiver used by the people to pass the messages.
Today, videos and images can be disseminated to thousands in a matter of minutes with a single click of a button and re-shared on the IM chats just as fast. Incidents that have never crossed the confines of schoolyards can now circulate around the globe. This range means a whole lot of bullies, strangers, and online predators can get the opportunity to pounce and comment on a single person at the same time. Certainly, this can have a negative impact on a child. But, only a few know children who have experienced mental and physical torture can suffer from these problems for many years to come.
How Bullying Impacts Kids?
A new study has divulged that taunted children are more susceptible to have a problem with finances. Whereas those who are treated unfairly becomes less optimistic about their futures. In contrast, bullies are more likely to smoke both marijuana and cigarettes, be more stressed, aggressive and hostile. As far as physical health is concerned, both groups failed to show any attributes of metabolic syndrome or inflammation – a “cluster of conditions” that often leads to diabetes or stroke in adulthood. But, both bullied and the bullies are at a higher risk of cardiovascular disease (heart disease), according to the study.
It Doesn’t Just Stop Here
Stop Bullying, an anti-bullying initiative in the US, has found that children who are picked on can also experience loneliness, anxiety, depression and changes in sleeping and eating patterns. And all of this can continue to impact their health over the age of 18. To the extent bullies are concerned, the site suggests this group is more likely to abuse drugs and binge drink, have criminal offenses and have an abusive attitude towards their kids or romantic partners in life.
What Can Parents Do to Help?
Parents must talk to their kids about these issues and help them understand that social platforms, instant messaging apps or other means are just a way to connect and communicate with others. And it’s not necessary that in real life these people really are how they “portray” themselves on social sites. They must also stress to their children that how many likes, friends, followers or shares is not important. What’s important is to create an opportunity for genuine sharing. Above all, what they’ll share over the internet or IM chats is not private. They’ll lose control of where it goes, who will see it, who will forward it and how it can be possibly used against them. Meaning, once you share something online it’s virtually impossible to take it back. So post something only when you really want to share it. In case, you have any doubts, then it’s better not to share it.