Teen Angst

Helping adolescents deal with anger and other emotions effectively

Cyberbully Protection

Cyberbully Protection Tips for Teens.

WHAT'S ON YOUR MIND? 

R U there?  Can U hear me?  Will U plz make it stop?  My life is ruined.  I can't show my face in public again...  No 1 listens, who can I turn 2?  R U there?  Plz make it go away:(

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Cyberbullying words can cut and oftentimes the victim feels alone, scared, anxious, depressed and like there's no one who understands them.  Although cyberbullying doesn't directly inflict physical harm it does cut psychologically.  Sometimes it leaves scars that don't heal.  Teens can quickly spiral to the dark side and have depressed thoughts that parents couldn't even begin to fathom. 

Do you worry about your teen being involved with cyberbulling?  According to a study released recently by the American Osteopathic Association, parents are concerned about the well being of their child in cyberspace.  The survey polled more than 1,000 parents of teenagers aged 13 to 17 and found that 85 percent of parents reported that their children had social media accounts and about 52 percent of parents admitted to being concerned about cyberbullying.  The study also revealed that one in six parents knew their child had been the victim of a cyberbully.  Additionally, most of the cyberbully reports were not a onetime occurrence but were repetitive. 

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Approximately 91 percent of parents believe they, not teachers, are responsible for preventing the long term effects of cyberbullying.   More than 75 percent of parents reported that they discussed cyberbullying with their children, while 86 percent said they joined their child's online social network to help monitor their teens' interactions online. Also more parents (2 out of 3) reported monitoring the security settings on their teen's social media accounts.  And just who are the worst offenders?  This study found that girls are more likely to be the cyberbully.  About two-thirds of cyberbullying was done by girls, making it twice as common among girls as boys.

So what can parents do to protect their teen from cyberbullying?  For starters, review the tips below with your teen. 

Top Sixteen Cyberbullying Protection Tips for Teens:

1. If you've become a victim of cyberbullying, take down your page(s)!  No exceptions!

2. Don't fill out those online surveys.  If you do, be very selective about what kind of information you post.  No personal information!

3.  Give your parents access to your accounts.  This is for your protection.

4.  Only accept close and "real friends" to your social media sites.

5.  Don't talk to strangers.  If you don't know them, block them from your site.

6.  Don't reply to any degrading, rude or vulgar posts.

7.  Block all people from your site who post those things in tip 6.

8. Report inappropriate posts, pics, videos, etc., to site operators.

9. Don't delete inappropriate material.  Take a screen shot; print it out, or save it.  This is your evidence should you need it in the future.

10.  If a friend tells you that they see something bad about you online, ask him to print it out or save it for you.

11.  Tell a parent or a trusted adult if you are a victim of cyberbullying.  Don't keep silent.

12. Never, ever, share personal information with others online that can come back to bite you.  If you want to share something big with a friend, do it face to face.  Don't do it online where the world is your audience.

13. Never, ever, share your username and password with anyone except a parent. 

14.  Make your username and password unique so that no one can figure them out.

15.  Don't ever provide an itinerary of your day on your social media site(s).  It is not safe for others to know every step that you're going to be making during the day.

16. Take a stand against cyberbullying.  Don't only stand up for yourself but get others involved as well.  For example, start a school wide campaign.  If you are a victim of cyberbullying you are not alone.  Help break the silence and let's put an end to bullying!

WHAT'S ON YOUR MIND? 

Txs 4 Listening!  I am not alone anymore.  Each of U can help others by taking a stand against bullying.  B4 I wuz scared, now I am strong.  Itz not 2 l8 2 do something.  Will U plz help me stop cyberbullying?  I need U:)

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Raychelle Cassada Lohmann, M.S., L.P.C., is the author of The Anger Workbook for Teens.

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