“Cyberbullying is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones*.” Most people do not even know what cyberbullying is, let alone understand it. In a new generation, bullying is not just some kid at the corner who steals lunch money, it’s deeper than that now. When a child is being cyberbullied, there can be very little to no signs of what’s going on, this creates a secretive, and somewhat anonymous version of what used to be very clear, and visible to the outside world.

In the past, bullying had clear signs. When your child came home with bruises, bumps or cuts, it was clear to see what had happened, your child was bullied. Usually, you could even pinpoint who had done it, and handle the situation as was necessary. Now, kids can hide the turmoil going on. They can pretend that nothing is wrong, and they don’t come home with bruises, or signs that something is wrong. Today, the bullies can even stay anonymous, or pretend to be someone else altogether. They can follow your child home, and torture them in their own rooms. It has even pushed some kids to killing themselves, but some don’t even realize it’s a real problem.

Kids can now go online, or block phone numbers, and be completely unknown. They can attack your child in ways that you cannot even imagine. Bombarding your children with text messages, instant messages, phone calls, and even getting groups of other kids to join in as well.

So how can we prevent this, or help a kid going through it? Informing them. Many children being cyberbullied do not even realize that they are going through something real, and it really does hurt. They often feel alone, and that no one is left to care about them. The kids doing it also do not always realize that it is not only wrong, but illegal. It is harassment, and wrong. Many schools now are teaching cyberbullying as a part of their anti-bullying campaigns, but it is not enough. Teaching a child that what they do online is real, and they can do something wrong online that will have consequences in real life is important. Digital ethics in the classrooms is important. Before the kids even log in, make sure they know that what they’re doing is real, and they can do something wrong.

*Courtesy of stopcyberbullying.com at http://www.stopcyberbullying.org/what_is_cyberbullying_exactly.html

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