In the past month, the community of McKinney, Texas experienced shocking heartbreak when a student committed suicide as a result of cyberbullying. Parents, students, and school administrators have rallied together to promote the message: #StopBullying. As a member of the McKinney community, Urgent Care for Kids is committed to doing everything we can to #StopBullying.
What is Cyberbullying?
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services defines cyberbullying as “bullying that takes place using electronic technology. Electronic technology includes devices and equipment such as cell phones, computers, and tablets as well as communication tools including social media sites, text messages, chat, and websites.”
Cyberbullying is especially harmful because it is relentless. It can happen any time and any place, there is no escaping the abuse. It is also extremely difficult to get rid of the taunting language or images once they have been published online. It can be an overwhelming and seemingly never ending ordeal for a child.
According to the Cyberbullying Research Center, half of all young people experience cyberbullying at some point.
How serious is it?
Victims of cyberbullying have a higher risk of:
- Drug and alcohol abuse
- Low self-esteem
- Skipping school
- Health problems
What can we do?
The first step in preventing your child from being affected by cyberbullying is to monitor their technology usage. Creating an open dialogue about their ‘online’ life can be as important as discussing their grades and extracurricular activities. Talk with them about cyberbullying, why it’s wrong, and what they should do if they see it or experience it. Keep any evidence of cyberbullying that you have and report it to your local school or public official.
As with many school districts, McKinney ISD has a policies in place for monitoring and reporting bullying. Keep yourself knowledgeable of these policies and procedures.
The average child begins using the internet and technology at the age of three. It is crucial that we teach children how to use these resources in a way that promotes learning and positive relationships – not abuse.
Parents: we would love to hear from you! How do you keep your child safe online? Comment here or tweet us: @urgentcarekids