By Mary Kay Hoal, for GalTime.com
The headlines are familiar: “Cyberbullying Victim Takes Their Life." “Cyberbullying at an All Time High." “Thirty-eight percent of Girls and 26% of Boys Report Being Bullied Online."
The media has done a good job of bringing the problem to the forefront. We've raised awareness among parents to recognize signs that their kids have experienced bullying. Countless groups and a number of resources have been established to help the victims. Yet little attention has been paid to the bully. And not enough has been done yet to help parents identify the signs that their own child might be the one doing the bullying.
Any parent can understand that bullying is wrong. In fact, you don’t even need to experience it first hand to imagine the torment that victims experience. What most people aren’t aware of, though, is the impact of cyberbullying. Consequences can range from academic suspension to parents being sued for libel. In severe cases where a cyberbullying victim commits suicide, the bully can even be charged with manslaughter.
Are you concerned that your child may be a cyberbully? Take note of these signs that your child has taken on this aggressive role and the tips for getting him the help he needs.
Two Red Flags
First, recognize that kids who bully, online or in person, first learn at home that it’s okay to treat another person with disrespect or that it’s okay to hurt another person. This can be learned directly from or influenced by:
- A parent or other adult influence in a child’s everyday life that demonstrates bullying behavior themselves. This adult is usually aggressive; they like to dominate; they like to use their physical size, strength or intelligence to intimidate others; they are cunning or manipulative, and usually rude and disrespectful.
- You or your spouse. Our children are a product of their environment. Look at yourself, look at your spouse/significant other and look at the adults that spend a considerable amount of time with your child. If any of the people that come to mind demonstrate this type of behavior, then throw up the red flag.
- Media. Make no mistake, the online culture that your child is a part of and the shows and movies she watches does impact her behavior.