BULLYING ~ CYBERBULLYING ~ SEXTING
What is bullying?
Bullying is an aggressive behavior that is intentional and involves an imbalance of power or strength. Bullying is repeated over time and can take many forms, such as hitting, punching, or shoving (physical bullying); teasing, taunting, name-calling or sexual remarks (verbal bullying); intimidation using gestures, spreading rumors or social exclusion (nonverbal bullying or emotional bullying.
Effects of bullying: Bullying can have serious consequences. Children and youth who are bullied are more likely than other children to:
- Loss of interest in school and extracurricular activities
- Frequent complaints of illness to avoid attending school
- Sudden decrease in academic performance
- Unexplained bruises, scratches, and cuts
- Seems afraid of going to school, riding the bus, walking to school, or taking part in organized activities with peers
- Seems sad, moody, or depressed
- Loss of appetite
- Trouble sleeping
- Anxiety or low self-esteem
- Suicidal thoughts or ideations
What is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is typically referred to as “ a communication or posting by one or more people using cybertechnology or digital media designed to hurt, threaten, embarrass, annoy, blackmail or otherwise target another person.” Cyberbullying can involve text, gaming devices, Internet, instant messaging (IM-ing) or images. Sometimes, largely because they feel that they are anonymous people do things online that they would never dream of doing in real life. These range from rude conduct and lewd language (“flaming”), to insults, defamation and bullying (“cyberbullying”), to creating fear (“harassment”), to credible threats of actual harm offline (“cyberstalking”).
A child may be a victim of cyberbullying if he or she:
- Unexpectedly stops using the computer
- Close his or her browser or mail windows immediately when you enter the room
- Appears nervous or jumpy when an Instant Message, text message, or Email appears
- Appears uneasy about going to school or outside in general
- Appears to be angry, depressed, or frustrated after using the computer
- Avoids discussions about what they are doing on the computer
- Becomes abnormally withdrawn from usual friends and family members
- Your child’s history folder is always cleaned out and clear of files
What is Sexting?
Sexting is the sending or posting of nude or partially nude images of minors. Youth who sext may face charges of producing, possessing and/or distributing child pornography. 1 in 5 teens (13-19) reported having sent a sexually suggestive image or message to another person.
The fact is that many teens and tweens do not understand the consequences of sending sexually explicit messages or images. They may not understand that electronic images are forever, or that the people they trust with their messages and images may not be equally trustworthy. They also may not understand the social and personal consequences of sexting. Teens found engaging in indecent behavior can lose scholarships, sports team membership, and face humiliation. Sexually explicit pictures can also follow them throughout their lives. A teen who fully understands these consequences will be less likely to engage in risky sexting behavior.
Keep lines of communication open with your tweens and teens about sexting:
- “Have you ever received a nude or partially nude message on your cell phone?”
- “Do you think its okay to send sexy messages on your phone? Why?”
- “Has anybody ever pressured you to send a nude or partially nude picture on your phone?”
- “What consequences could occur if you were to send or forward a sexually explicit message or picture on your phone?”
- “How likely is it that cell phone messages intended for one person will remain private? How likely is it that they will be seen by other, unintended, recipients?”