Cyberbullying can happen to any child who uses a digital device. Any, it often happens with kids they are friends with.
My daughter was cyberbullied in 3rd grade by a classmate upset that she would not play with him during recess that day. He started sending her emails saying things like “you are not my friend” and “I hate you”. Luckily, we caught it early. We saw how upset she and were monitoring her online use including emails. The school helped intervene and his parents were willing to take a stand and have him not email her any more. That was well before my daughter and her friends had cell phones and learned to text. Today, it’s much easier for kids to cyberbully. Studies show that rates of cyberbullying can be hard to determine but appear to be between 10-20% of teenagers and teenagers (11-18 year olds) who use digital devices. The most common time for cyberbullying to occur is during the middle school years. Those are the years that tweens and young teens are most unpredictable. They are just entering puberty so have rising hormones and are very new to the digital world.
What can you do as parents? You are their best protectors and teachers.
- Teach them by example how to use any technology smartly.
- Talk to them about online bullying and when to come to you or a teacher for help.
- Teach them that the rules for how to treat people are always the same – with or without technology.
Here’s some links to information for more information: