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Cyberbullying

Who would have thought that several years ago we would have to be addressing such a thing as cyberbullying? But it is here and is causing major problems with middle school and high school students. Bullying is the aggressive behavior that is intentional and involves a power or strength. Traditionally, bullying has involved actions such as hitting or punching, verbal abuse or intimidation. Cyberbullying, which is sometimes referred to as online social cruelty or electronic bullying can involve the following:
  • sending mean, vulgar, or threatening messages or images
  • posting sensitive, private information about another person
  • pretending to be someone else in order to make that person look bad
  • intentionally excluding someone from an online group


Children and youth can cyberbully each other through emails, instant messaging, text or digital messages sent on cell phones, web pages, blogs, chat rooms or discussion groups and other informational communication technologies. One might wonder how common is cyberbullying . Recent studies have shown that 18% of students in grades 6-8 said they have been cyberbullied while 11% of these middle school children say they have cyberbullied others. 17% of 6-11 year olds and 36% of 12-17 year olds reported that someone said threatening or embarrassing things about them through email or text messages.

What can parents do to address cyberbullying? Keep your home computers in easily viewable places, such as a family room or kitchen. Talk regularly with your child about online activities that he or she is involved in, encouraging them immediately if they become a victim of cyberbullying to let you know. Consider installing parental control filtering software and/or tracking programs but don't rely solely on these tools. Although adults must respect the privacy of children and youth, concerns for your child's safely may sometimes override these privacy concerns. Tell your child that you may review his or her online communications if you think there is reason for concern.Be sure to contact the police if cyberbullying involves threats of violence, extortion, obscene or harassing phone calls or text messages, stalking, hate crimes or child pornography. There is a great website for more information: www.stopbullyingnow.com if you want further information on cyberbullying.


Contact Us

Mental Health America Jackson County
P.O. Box 51
Seymour, IN 47274
Phone: (812) 522-3480
Fax: (812) 524-8176
E-mail: mhajc@cabjackson.org