A tall redhead shoved me against a brick wall. She was in my 7th-grade class, had overheard me laughing in the cafeteria and assumed I was laughing at her. I was terrified of getting beaten up, and did the first thing that came to mind: I made a joke.
That rash decision could have ended with a punch in the face. Fortunately, she thought it was funny and let me go.
While physical bullying is still an issue today, thanks to the added element of social media, there is also the growing issue of cyberbullying. Here are 3 cyberbullying trends that every parent should know about.
Cyberbullying Trend #1 – Sexting
Sexting doesn’t sound like something that belongs alongside bullying. Inappropriate? Yes. But bullying?
Because kids don’t always examine the possible consequences of their actions, dabbling in sexting can quickly get out of hand and turn into a cyberbullying nightmare. Here’s why sexting is so dangerous for our youth:
- From sending explicit images or videos to trading dirty messages, sexting is never truly private — even on apps like Snapchat, where the message is supposed to “disappear” within seconds. Kids know how to take screen grabs, and that information can be shared with the world in a matter of seconds to humiliate and belittle the child.
- Sexting is illegal for minors; those images and videos are essentially child pornography. In the worst cases, teens have been charged with felonies or have been required to register as sex offenders.
- Harassment resulting from sexting can lead to serious anxiety and even suicidal thoughts.
Cyberbullying Trend #2 – Racial Slurs & Injustice
Very Well Family
When racist bullying occurs, children are taunted by peers, called names or excluded from the group because of hatred, fear or lack of understanding. In some instances, racist bullying may cause children to be embarrassed of their skin color or ethnic background. To counteract the messages of a racist bully, find ways to help kids feel good about their heritage. And be sure to report all racist bullying. Too many times, racist bullying can escalate into a hate crime.
Cyberbullying Trend #3 – Harassment
Cyberbullying harassment among teenagers can go from a few mean-spirited texts to complete cyber-harassment. According to a Kid’s Health report, catfishing is a common way the harassment starts. “S
Parents and educators need to be fully aware of cyberbullying that may be going on in their homes or classrooms — because kids cannot resolve this problem alone. Even though they may feel too ashamed to reach out for help, parents need to be proactive and watch for signs, symptoms, and cyberbullying.
The best way to protect your children is let them know you’re there for them.