Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Empowering Youth: Cyberbullying

Cyber bullying is a form of teen violence that involves using technology, like cell phones and the Internet, to bully or harass another person, at school or in their home. For victims, the consequences of being targeted by this behavior can range from lowered academic achievement to mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, and even suicide. 

  • Around half of teens have been the victims of cyber bullying
  • Only 1 in 10 teens tells a parent if they have been a victim of cyber bullying
  • Fewer than 1 in 5 cyber bullying incidents are reported to law enforcement
  • 1 in 10 adolescents or teens have had embarrassing or damaging pictures taken of themselves without their permission, often using cell phone cameras
  • About 1 in 5 teens have posted or sent sexually suggestive or nude pictures of themselves to others
  • Girls are somewhat more likely than boys to be involved in cyber bullying
The Cyber bullying Research Center also did a series of surveys that found these cyber bullying statistics:
  • Over 80 percent of teens use a cell phone regularly, making it the most popular form of technology and a common medium for cyber bullying
  • About half of young people have experienced some form of cyber bullying, and 10 to 20 percent experience it regularly
  • Mean, hurtful comments and spreading rumors are the most common type of cyber bullying
  • Girls are at least as likely as boys to be cyber bullies or their victims
  • Boys are more likely to be threatened by cyber bullies than girls
  • Cyber bullying affects all races
  • Cyber bullying victims are more likely to have low self-esteem and to consider suicide
We want to teach victims of cyber bullying to shift their focus from victimization to that of empowerment by giving them goals of courage, capability, connectedness and importance (Bettner and Lew’s four Crucial C’s). This changes the cycle of cyber bullying so that victims do not choose revenge and avoid becoming perpetrators themselves and victims focus on improving internal characteristics, enhancing their own mental health.
Cyber bullying is new to all of us, parents as well as educators. You may not only need to help your child through this trauma, you may need to help educate your school’s administrators as well. Many K-12 teachers today are feeling overwhelmed by this problem that the difficulties faced by bullies themselves often get lost in the mix. Susan Fogg, M.S., CSAC, LMHP, LPC of Access Intensive Counseling says: “Treatment needs to be for the bully as well as the victim. If you feel the need to hurt others to feel better about yourself, you need mental health support.” Victims and targets need to be the first concern, but adults should be concerned about all children.  Parents may need a referral to a good professional licensed counselor who can help this child understand why he or she persists in abusing others.

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