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Cyberbullying: What to Do If it Happens to Your Teen
Cyberbullying, using the Internet, cell phones, or another type of communication technology to hurt or embarrass others, is an increasingly common problem among today's youth. In a recent study conducted by the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) and Harris Interactive Inc., more than 43% of teens ages 13-17 have experienced cyberbullying within the past year.
According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, about 93% of teens use social media Web sites, and 55% of online teens have created a profile through social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook. These sites allow teens to express their feelings online for the cyber world to view. Often motivated by anger, frustration or boredom, cyberbullies harass individuals by posting negative comments and pictures.
Victims of cyberbullying usually feel a wide range of emotions, including indifference, anger and embarrassment. According to a study conducted by Fight Crime, only 35% of teens have told a parent about being cyberbullied; 16% have told no one.
Parents need to be aware of cyberbullying by monitoring their teen's online activity. If a cyberbully harasses your teen, the California Association Marriage and Family Therapists offers the following tips for parents:
- Encourage your teen not to respond to the bullying.
- Save pictures and messages as evidence.
- Contact your teen's school to report the cyberbullying.
- Closely monitor your teen's computer use.
- Try to identify the individual doing the bullying.
- If possible, block the cyberbully from future contact.
- Try to contact the cyberbully's parents, if possible.
- Contact the police or an attorney if cyberbullying becomes violent.
Cyberbullying should not be taken lightly. If your child is seriously troubled by a cyberbully and it affects his or her emotional or mental behavior, consider seeking professional help. A Marriage and Family Therapist can help your teen build communication skills and develop strategies to solve problems effectively. For more information about Marriage and Family Therapists, or to locate a therapist in your area, please visit www.CounselingCalifornia.com.
The California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists, with 27 chapters throughout the state, is an independent professional organization, representing the interests of licensed marriage and family therapists. CAMFT provides CounselingCalifornia.com as a resource to the public looking for marriage and family therapists located in California. For more information about CAMFT, please call (858) 292-2638 or visit www.camft.org.
Media Contact: Amber Albrecht
Phone: (619) 687-7015 or (949) 500-2535