Cyberbullying and Depression in Children

Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying and Depression in Children

Cyberbullying is when someone uses technology to harass, threaten, embarrass, or target another person. It happens on devices smartphones, computers, tablets, and gaming systems. Cyberbullying hurts people, and in some cases is against the law.

Sometimes cyberbullying can be easy to spot — for example, if your child shows you a text, comment, or post that is harsh, mean, or cruel. Other acts are less obvious, posting someone's personal information, or using photos or videos that hurt or embarrass another person. Someone might make a fake account or screen name to harass and bully, so you don't know who the bully is.

What Are the Effects of Cyberbullying?

Kids have almost constant access to their devices, so cyberbullying is hard to escape. Kids and teens can feel they never get a break and feel the effects very strongly.

Cyberbullying that is severe, long-lasting, or happens a lot can cause anxiety, depression, and other stress-related disorders in victims and bullies. In rare cases, some kids have attempted or died from suicide.

Cyberbullies also can be suspended or expelled from school or kicked off of sports teams. Depending on the severity of the cyberbullying, kids also might be in legal trouble.

What Are the Signs of Cyberbullying?

Many kids and teens who are cyberbullied don't want to tell a teacher, parent, or trusted adults, often because they feel ashamed or fear that their devices will be taken away at home.

Signs of cyberbullying vary, but may include:

  • being emotionally upset during or after using the Internet or the phone
  • being very secretive or protective of one's digital life
  • spending more time than usual in their room
  • withdrawal from or lack of interest in family members, friends, and activities
  • avoiding school or group gatherings
  • slipping grades and «acting out» in anger at home
  • changes in mood, behavior, sleep, or appetite
  • suddenly wanting to stop using the computer or device
  • being nervous or jumpy when getting a message, text, or email
  • avoiding discussions about computer or phone activities

How Can Parents Help?

If your child is being cyberbullied

  • Offer comfort and support. Talking about any bullying experiences you had in your childhood might help your child feel less alone.
  • Let your child know that it's not their fault. Bullying says more about the bully than the victim. Praise your child for doing the right thing by talking to you about it. Remind your child you're in this together. Reassure your child that you'll figure out what to do.
  • Notify the school. Tell the principal, school nurse, or a counselor or teacher about the situation. Many schools, school districts, and after-school clubs have rules for responding to cyberbullying. These vary by district and state. But before reporting the problem, let your child know that you plan to do so, so that you can work out a plan that makes you both feel comfortable.
  • Encourage your child not to respond to cyberbullying. Doing so just makes the situation worse.
  • Keep records. Keep screen shots of the threatening messages, pictures, and texts. These can be used as evidence with the bully's parents, school, employer, or even the police.
  • Get help. If your son or daughter agrees, meeting with a therapist may help work through feelings. A counselor or mediator at school may work with your child alone or together with the bully.

Other things that may prevent future cyberbullying:

  • Block the bully. Most devices have settings that let you electronically block emails, messages, or texts from specific people.
  • Limit access to technology. Although it is hurtful, many kids who are bullied can't resist the temptation to check websites or phones to see if there are new messages. Keep the computer in a public place in the house and put limits on the use of cellphones and games. You might be able to turn off text messaging services during certain hours, and most websites, apps, and smartphones include parental control options that give parents access to their kids' messages and online life.
  • Monitor use of social media. A number of programs and apps can monitor teens' social media accounts and alert parents to any inappropriate language or photos. Many software programs and apps are available — from free to expensive — that can give you detailed reports of your child's browsing history and tell you how much time your child spent online and on each site.
  • Know what sites your child uses. This as an opportunity to encourage kids and teens to teach you about something they know well — technology! This shows your child that you are interested in how they spend their time online, while helping you understand how to best monitor their online safety.
  • Be part of your kids' online world. Ask to «friend» or «follow» your child on social media sites, but do not abuse this privilege by commenting or posting anything to your child's profile. Check their postings and the sites kids visit, and be aware of how they spend their time online.
  • Put it in writing. Write smartphone and social media contracts for your kids that you're willing to enforce.

What Else Should I Know?

What if it's your kid who's behaving badly? While that can be upsetting, it's important to deal with the problem and not expect it to go away. No matter what's causing the bullying, tell your child that it's unacceptable. Set and enforce consequences if it continues. If needed, talk with teachers, guidance counselors, and others who might be able to help.

As always, be a role model for your kids. Help them understand the benefits and dangers of the digital world. If you don't get upset and use angry words in your own posts and replies, they're less ly to. Talk about healthy ways to respond — or not — when you disagree with others.

You can learn more about how to stop bullying at Stopbullying.gov.

Источник: https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/cyberbullying.html

Cyberbullying and Children’s Mental Health

Cyberbullying and Depression in Children

Before the Internet, bullying mostly happened in person. Kids were bullied at the bus stop, at recess or in the lunch line. But once a child got home, the bullying stopped. Now with increasingly advanced technology, online bullying, or cyberbullying, can happen anywhere at any time.

According to Sherri Gordon at VeryWellFamily, bullying—including Cyberbullying—causes significant emotional, psychological, and physical distress. Just any other victim of bullying, cyberbullied kids experience anxiety, fear, depression, and low self-esteem. They also may experience physical symptoms, mental health issues, and struggle academically.

In the professional journal Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, Vol. 23, No. 2, the authors Irene Kwan et al. stated that Cyberbullying is associated with considerable negative mental and psychosocial consequences in children and young people, making it a serious public health concern.

According to KidsHealth Behavioral Health Experts, bullies have been around forever, but technology now gives them a whole new platform for their actions. Real-world and online name-calling both can have serious emotional consequences for our kids and teens.

It’s not always easy to know how and when to step in as a parent. For starters, most kids use technology differently than we do. They are playing games online and sending texts on their phones at an early age, and most teens have devices that keep them constantly connected to the Internet. Their knowledge of the digital world can be intimidating to parents.

But staying involved in kids’ cyber world, just as in their real world, can help parents protect them from its dangers. As awareness of cyberbullying has grown, parents have learned more about how to deal with it. Here are some suggestions on what to do if this modern type of bullying has become part of your child’s life.

What is Cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is the use of technology to harass, threaten, embarrass, or target another person. By definition, it occurs among young people. When an adult is involved, it may meet the definition of cyber-harassment or cyberstalking, a crime that can have legal consequences and involve jail time.

Sometimes cyberbullying can be easy to spot — for example, if your child shows you a text, tweet, or response on that is harsh, mean, or cruel.

Other acts are less obvious, impersonating a victim online or posting personal information, photos, or videos to hurt or embarrass another person.

Some kids report that a fake account, webpage, or online persona has been created with the sole intention to harass and bully.

Cyberbullying also can happen accidentally. The impersonal nature of text messages, IMs, and emails makes it very hard to detect the sender’s tone — one person’s joke could be another’s hurtful insult. Still, a repeated pattern of emails, texts, and online posts is rarely an accident.

Because many kids are reluctant to report being bullied, even to their parents, it’s impossible to know just how many are affected. But in some studies, more than half of the teens surveyed said that they have experienced abuse through social media and digital media.

Modern-day bullying can happen at home as well as at school — essentially 24 hours a day. Picked-on kids can feel they are getting blasted nonstop and that there is no escape. As long as kids have access to a phone, computer, or another device, they are at risk.

Severe, long-term, or frequent cyberbullying can leave both victims and bullies at greater risk for anxiety, depression, and other stress-related disorders. In some rare but highly publicized cases, some kids have turned to suicide. Experts say that kids who are bullied — and the bullies themselves — are at a higher risk for suicidal thoughts, attempts, and completed suicides.

The punishment for cyberbullies can include being suspended from school or kicked off of sports teams. Some types of cyberbullying can be considered crimes.

What are the Signs of Cyberbullying?

Many kids and teens who are cyberbullied don’t want to tell a teacher or parent, often because they feel ashamed of the social stigma or fear that their computer privileges will be taken away at home.

Signs of cyberbullying vary, but may include:

  • being emotionally upset during or after using the Internet or the phone
  • being very secretive or protective of one’s digital life
  • withdrawal from family members, friends, and activities
  • avoiding school or group gatherings
  • slipping grades and “acting out” in anger at home
  • changes in mood, behavior, sleep, or appetite
  • wanting to stop using the computer or device
  • being nervous or jumpy when getting an instant message, text, or email
  • avoiding discussions about computer or phone activities

What can Parents do?

If your child is being cyberbullied, offer comfort and support. Talking about any bullying experiences you had in your childhood might help your child feel less alone.

Let your child know that it’s not their fault, and that bullying says more about the bully than the victim. Praise your child for doing the right thing by talking to you about it. Remind your child that he/she is not alone — a lot of people get bullied at some point. Reassure your child that you will figure out what to do about it together.

Let someone at school (the principal, school nurse, or a counselor or teacher) know about the situation. Many schools, school districts, and after-school clubs have rules in place to deal with cyberbullying; these vary by district and state. But before reporting the problem, let your child know that you plan to do so, so that you can work out a plan that makes you both feel comfortable.

Encourage your child not to respond to cyberbullying, because doing so just fuels the fire and makes the situation worse. But do keep the threatening messages, pictures, and texts. These can be used as evidence with the bully’s parents, school, employer, or even the police. You may want to take, save, and print screenshots of these to have for the future.

Other things about Cyberbullying and Children to try:

  • Block the bully. Most devices have settings that let you electronically block emails, IMs, or texts from specific people.
  • Limit access to technology. Although it’s hurtful, many kids who are bullied can’t resist the temptation to check websites or phones to see if there are new messages. Keep the computer in a public place in the house (no laptops in children’s bedrooms, for example) and put limits on the use of cellphones and games. Some companies let you turn off text messaging services during certain hours. And most websites and smartphones include parental control options that give parents access to their kids’ messages and online life.
  • Know your kids’ online world. Ask to “friend” or “follow” your child on social media sites, but do not abuse this privilege by commenting or posting anything to their profile. Check their postings and the sites kids visit, and be aware of how they spend their time online. Talk to them about the importance of privacy and why it’s a bad idea to share personal information online, even with friends. Write up cellphone and social media contracts that you are willing to enforce.
  • Learn about ways to keep your kids safe online. Encourage them to safeguard passwords and to never post their address or whereabouts when out and about.

If your son or daughter agrees, you may also arrange for mediation with a therapist or counselor at school who can work with your child and/or the bully.

When your Child is the Bully…

Finding out that your kid is the one who is behaving badly can be upsetting and heartbreaking. It’s important to address the problem and not wait for it to go away.

Talk to your child firmly about their actions and explain the negative impact it has on others. Joking and teasing might seem harmless to one person, but it can be hurtful to another. Bullying  in any form  is unacceptable. And there can be serious (and sometimes permanent) consequences at home, school, and in the community if it continues.

Remind your child that the use of smartphones, computers, and other devices is a privilege rather than a right. Sometimes it helps to restrict their use until behavior improves. If you feel your child should have a cellphone for safety reasons, make sure it is a phone that can be used only for emergencies. Set strict parental controls on all devices.

Talking to teachers, guidance counselors, and other school officials can help identify situations that lead a kid to bully others.

If your child has trouble managing anger, talk to a therapist about helping them learn to cope with anger, hurt, frustration, and other strong emotions in a healthy way. Professional counseling also can help improve kids’ confidence and social skills, which can reduce the risk of bullying.

And don’t forget to set a good example yourself — model good online habits to help your kids understand the benefits and the dangers of life in the digital world.

This article is provided by Dr. Ralph Kueche (Child Psychologist). Dr. Kuechle is a Child and Adolescent Clinical Psychologist who specializes in treating children and their families who may be struggling with mood and behavioral issues. Learn more about Dr. Kuechle.

Источник: https://harbormentalhealth.com/2021/03/05/cyberbullying-and-childrens-mental-health/

Could cyberbullying be the cause of depression in your teen?

Cyberbullying and Depression in Children

Nearly everyone is familiar these days with the terms «cyberbullying» or «online bullying». This is a form of bullying where someone is harassed, threatened, or humiliated through the internet, usually through various social media networks.

It is becoming increasingly common; statistics say about 58% of kids admit someone has said mean or hurtful things to them online. More than 4 10 say it has happened more than once. These figures sound about right to me.

At Teen Xpress, I have several students every week tell me that they are dealing with some sort of online bullying.

Cyberbullying can lead to depression in teens

Being intimidated, verbally abused, or harassed online can wreak havoc on a young person’s psyche, causing a multitude of issues, especially depression.

When looking specifically at depression, it’s hard to know the exact numbers or relationship between the two because bullying is usually underreported (with an average of only 1 10 young people telling an adult).

However, it’s easy to understand why there is a connection.

Young people (as well as not-so-young people) love their technology. Being a part of that technology and joining social media networks seems fun and is, in theory, a great way to connect to others. However, participation in social media increases the lihood of having negative experiences, too.

In years past, victims of bullying could find some sort of safe haven- maybe their home, their neighborhood, a place they could go where no one bothered them. These days, there is no escaping online bullying. We have access to our social networks and mobile devices nearly everywhere we go.

The only way to escape is to turn off the technology, and that is much easier said than done, especially with your typical teen! This constant barrage of harassment can be scary, exhausting, and heart-breaking. Experiencing feelings that over and over can bring on symptoms of depression.

Teens rely most heavily on their parents and peers for advice about online behaviors and coping with challenging experiences, so it’s up to us to know what to look for and how to help them.

What are some signs of adolescent depression?

A depressed teen may appear sad, irritable, or angry. They also may appear to be uninterested in things that they normally to do. They may withdraw or isolate themselves. There may have sleep or appetite issues. They may engage in risky or dangerous behaviors, substance use or self-harm.

Some of these behaviors are not unusual for a non-depressed teen as well, so if they are acting this it is important to consider how long this has been going on. If someone is showing these signs of depression nearly all day, every day for two weeks or more, they may be suffering from depression.

At that point, parents should consider a visit with a mental health professional or doctor to make sure everything is alright.

How can I protect my child from being bullied online?

Be in the know! It is important for parents to learn about the social media sites that their child and their child’s friends are using. Students often tell me about sites that I’ve never heard of.

That’s because these sites aren’t marketed to adults- they are specifically targeting young people.

Communicate. Encourage them to tell you if it happens to them.

Tell them you want to know because you love them and want to be there for them.

Listen. Parents should take these issues seriously. Teens often get a bad reputation for being emotional or dramatic, especially when it comes to how upset they can get when they have issues with friends. It’s hard for us parents because sometimes it may feel it’s not that big of a deal.

However, adolescents are hard-wired to be this way. They are going through the developmental stage of separating themselves from their parents and becoming more aligned with friends and peers.

When your friends are more important to you than anyone else in the world, and then they begin to bully or mistreat you, this can be truly heartbreaking.

Help them. If your child experiences something this, be there for them, empathize, and help them use good coping skills to get through it. Help them learn that only they define their own self-worth and that they are not alone. Always seek out counseling if needed. Telling them to get over it or that it’s not a big deal is not helpful.

Would it help to just take away the phone/ tablet/ laptop/computer?

No. Most teens love their technology, so taking it away will ly feel a punishment. Also, their friends will still have access, so they will probably hear about anything they may have missed.

It’s helpful to remember: technology isn’t the problem; the way people treat each other is the problem.

Social media is an incredibly powerful tool that can connect people. It can be used for good intentions, and can empower, educate, and strengthen our youth.

When social media is used to threaten, humiliate, and hurt people, the results can be heart breaking and disastrous.

It is helpful to teach our kids how to deal with people that bully. Even more helpful is teaching them how to treat others with respect and kindness, supporting them, and encouraging them to stand up for themselves and others.

Источник: https://www.arnoldpalmerhospital.com/content-hub/could-cyberbullying-be-the-cause-of-depression-in-your-teen

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