In a world that is now run almost exclusively by computers, cyberbullying has become a very real threat in the lives of our children and teenagers. In fact, statistics show that among a population of 13 to 17 year olds, more than 43% have experienced some form of cyberbullying within the last year alone. That statistic is staggering. Cyberbullying takes on many forms, and each one is harmful to a child, causing anxiety, depression and sometimes even suicide.
Gossip takes on a new definition when it's done online. When we were kids, gossiping was mostly harmless. And even though it spread quickly when one of your friends had a juicy tale to tell you, it's nowhere near how quickly gossip spreads online. In just a few clicks of the mouse, information gets transferred from one person to another, causing an incredible amount of harm. Through the use of social networks, any information is easily announced to world via a Facebook wall post. Internet gossip can devestate a child.
During our childhood, harrassment took a bit of work. Face to face interaction had to take place, which probably deterred many kids from participating in it. Online, it's easy to hide behind a computer screen. And since most kids live in the moment, with very little concern about the consequences of their actions, they can easily make all kinds of nasty and hurtful remarks to one of their peers without holding back. Many kids even threaten physical harm.
Cyberstalking is similar to harrassment because when we were teenagers, stalking meant you had to follow someone or be watching them all the time. It took physical activity. Cyberstalking is done in the privacy of a child's or teenager's house without any regard to consequences. Usually the victim receives intimidating or threatening messages that produce an immediate feeling of fear and dread.
Cyberbullying is a crime. Unfortunately, many parents won't know if their child has been a victim of cyberbullying or, if they have participated in it. However, that doesn't have to be the case with you. You can easily monitor your child's Facebook, social networks and Internet activity so that you can be the first to know if there are any problems.