A recent comment got me thinking about probability and risk factors for being a victim of cyberbullying. So I did a Google search to learn more about trends when it comes to this phenomenon.
What I found was enlightening, but also pretty frightening.
About half of adolescents and teens have been cyberbullied and about half have engaged in cyberbullying.
About 1 in 10 kids have had embarrassing or damaging pictures taken without their permission (although I don’t know the number of these being posted—but still, pretty scary).
But what was really alarming to learn is that most kids don’t even tell their parents when cyberbullying happens.
Not sure if this silence is tied to shame, concern about revealing online practices that violates rules, or even fear of the process that parents will take to confront the aggressor and his/her parents.
But cyberbullying, cybersafety, and even cyberpractices should probably be topics of frequent discussions between parents and kids. And since kids are not initiating these conversations, parents need to take the lead. Sure, these may not be the most comfortable or even natural discussions to have. But consider what your intervention might prevent--1 in 5 teens have posted or sent sexually suggestive or nude picture of themselves to other (talk to those kids about cyberpractices!) and sadly, victims of cyberbulling are more likely to have low self-esteem and consider suicide.
I was inspired by Mark’s posting and his pro-active approach to protect his child from cyberbullying.
I’ll do some digging to find other strategies parents can take to helping their kids safely navigate online activity.
In the meantime, click here for the stats included in this post, and to learn more about trends on cyber-activity.