As a whole, we have become a people who spend quite a lot of time online. In fact, a relatively new study by CNN called #Being13 reveals that teens spend more time than most. Would the fact that teens check their social media messages an average of 100 times every day surprise you?
It’s true
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Researchers also found that many of these teens were receiving bullying messages through their social media.
It’s called cyberbullying, and it involves the use of electronic communication to manipulate, threaten, or intimidate another person. However, it can also be a lot subtler than this. Many parents don’t know or understand how much of an effect this subtle aggression hurts teens. Some examples include a peer posting a party or group outing the teen wasn’t invited to and intentionally tagging them in it or tagging them in degrading memes. 
No matter what form, cyberbullying is wrong. As a parent, there are some things you can do to spot it and stop it quickly.

 

Spotting Cyberbullying

Learn the Signs

Teens who are victims of cyberbullying often display the same signs as those who are bullied at school or outside the home. Your daughter may:
  • Lose interest in activities she used to enjoy 
  • Withdraw socially or emotionally
  • Lose her appetite
  • Unexpectedly shut down her computer or phone when you walk into the room
  • Have trouble sleeping
If you notice any of these signs, it’s important to talk to your daughter.
 

Stopping Cyberbullying

Sign up on Social Media

It might not be your thing, but signing up on social media accounts can go a long way in helping her avoid cyberbullying. Just your presence can discourage would-be bullies from posting on your daughter’s wall or page. Being on the social network also lets you better understand how it works and how the things posted might impact your teen.

Create an Open-Door Policy

In the CNN study, it was revealed that 94 percent of parents don’t understand just how much teens fight using social media. If you notice your daughter is sad, angry or withdrawn after getting online, talk to her about it. Don’t force the issue, but make sure she knows you’re available to her to support without judgment.

Teach Your Teen How to Block

It’s important to talk to your daughter early on (preferably before she begins using social media) and let her know what she may encounter. Teach her to only accept friend requests from people she knows, but also that it’s okay to delete individuals who hurt her through cyberbullying. In addition, teach her how to block (and report) these individuals so they can’t access her page again. This will help empower your teen and give her the confidence to take back her account and use it without fear.

Print it Out

Teens often have a hard time escaping a bully, especially ones that they know. Even if they are blocked and deleted from social media, they may still text or bully your daughter at school. They may also use stalker tactics and open new, fake accounts or convince friends to bully her. For this reason, it’s important that you establish some rules with your daughter. If she feels like she’s being bullied online, make a contract with her that she’ll come to you. You can then take screenshots and print out messages that can be presented to the bully’s parents and principal.

Talk to the Police

If the cyberbullying is severe, consider visiting the police with your screenshots and printouts. In some states, cyberbullying is a crime and can result in serious consequences.

Creating a Safe Environment: Greenbrier Academy for Girls

Knowing how to spot and deal with a cyberbully can help create a safer environment for your daughter to grow up in and enjoy. At our girls boarding school, we help create this environment by limiting computer use and making sure online usage is safe and monitored. Our therapeutic boarding school also provides plenty of other activities for your daughter to take part in outside of the online world. These include clubs, sports, yoga classes and community service.
If your daughter has already experienced the trauma of cyberbullying (or any type of bullying) and you are considering Greenbrier as a therapeutic environment where she can heal and regain her confidence, please call us now.