One Voice Illinois

Cyberbullying—A Primer for Parents

Most parents feel that they understand bullying. After all, there were bullies back when they were in school. But what many parents may not have a good handle on is cyberbullying, bullying that takes place using electronic technology. Electronic technology is not just cell phones, computers, and tablets but also communication tools such as social media sites, text messages, chat, and websites.

A 2011 report indicated that 9% of students in grades 6 through 12 experienced cyberbullying. Another report from 2013 found that 15% of high school students (grades 9 through 12) experienced cyberbullying. The frequency of cyberbullying is increasing, and the research is growing as well. However, rapid changes in technology makes it difficult for surveys to accurately capture trends.

Cyberbullying is Different

Kids who are cyberbullied are often bullied in person as well, but cyberbullying is more difficult for kids to get away from than face-to-face bullying. Here’s how cyberbullying is different:

Examples of Cyberbullying

Technology itself is not to blame for cyberbullying, and social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and SnapChat can connect kids with friends and family. These are all useful tools, but they can also be used to hurt other people. Some examples of cyberbullying include:

Effects of Cyberbullying

Whether bullying takes place face-to-face or online, the effects are similar. Kids who are cyberbullied are more likely to:

Preventing Cyberbullying

Families and children can prevent cyberbullying, and open communication between adults and kids is critical. Here are things you can do to help prevent cyberbullying:

Dealing with Cyberbullying

If you child is being cyberbullied, here is how to take action.