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Scottsdale  •  Phoenix

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Cyberbullying on the Rise

With the advent of social networking and social media sites, staying connected online has become a major part of people’s lives. This is especially true for teenagers. Over 95 percent of teenagers have an email account and 97 percent of teens report using the Internet at home for personal or school purposes.

Though online activity has many positive effects, unfortunately, the incidence and effects of bullying are also felt on the web. According to a report by the National Crime Prevention Council, 43 percent of teens have experienced some form of cyberbullying online.

Cyberbullying is most prevalent among 15 to 16 year-old age group and more common among girls than boys, with 57 percent of girls experiencing some form of bullying online compared with 43 percent of boys.

The National Crime Prevention Council notes some common forms of cyberbullying include:

  • Sending threatening emails or text messages
  • Blocking someone’s email or defriending someone through social networks
  • Tricking someone into revealing personal or embarrassing information and sending it to others
  • Creating websites to make fun of another person such as a classmate or teacher
  • Using websites to rate peers as prettiest, ugliest, etc.

The NCPC also notes that cyberbullying can be have harsher and more far reaching effects, as people will often say things online that they would not do face to face, meaning that the bullying can take a tone that is more direct and harsh. It can also be done anonymously, though three out of four students who have had someone bully them secretly will eventually determine who the person was.

Parents are urged to speak with their children about cyberbullying, as children are not likely to reach out for help. The NCPC survey found that teens are twice as likely to speak with a friend about the incident as they are to speak with their parents.

Children that are cyber bullied have a much higher risk of developing mental disorders that will impact the rest of their lives. Common disorders that may be a result from bullying:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety disorders
  • Attention Deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)

Some incidence of cyberbullying have tragic consequences, including suicides in some cases.  But states have taken some measures to combat the activities and hold bullies accountable. According to an ABC report, 41 states have some sort of statute against bullying and 23 states have laws prohibiting cyberbullying. Those participating in cyberbullying can also be held civilly responsible in some cases.

For those experiencing any form of cyberbullying, it is important to take steps to stop it. The NCPC recommends children and teenagers block the bully from communicating through email, text or social media site; delete the message without reading it; and, most importantly, report the incident to a trusted adult.

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