Each year, it seems like technology ingrains itself deeper and deeper into our daily lives. Instead of the internet only being accessed through a computer back in the late 90s and early 2000s, nearly 3 in 4 teens has access to a smartphone connected to the internet. A device that can easily be carried around in their pocket all day and night. While this has massive benefits for communication, it also has downsides–such as cyber bullying.
Bullying has evolved. What once took place only in the school yard extends much further now. The tendrils of bullying know few bounds; with the help of technology, they can reach a teenager with a smartphone nearly 24/7. Cyber bullying isn’t something to take lightly–especially since it’s becoming more and more common. Whether your child is the perpetrator or victim, it’s something extremely serious.
What to do if your child is the bully
Teen bullies exist–otherwise there wouldn’t be any victims–but how do you deal with it when you find out it’s your teen that’s bullying others? It’s definitely a conundrum for those parents. For many, their response is to deny it and continue on blindly; for others, they come down on their child hard with intense consequences with little explanation. It’s relatively easy to find advice on what to do if your child is bullied, but very little on what to do if your child is the bully.
Experts say there’s a certain way to go about it that can be most beneficial to your child.
- Find the facts. Instead of immediately blowing up on your teen, sit them down and come at them with a willingness to listen to their explanation–no matter how upsetting. Try to pinpoint whether there are areas of their life causing them to express anger in such a damaging way to others.
- Emphasize the severity of their actions. Cyber bullying leads some teens down a very dangerous path. As a parent, it’s your job to calmly talk to your teen about the potential impact of their actions through cyber bullying. They may have done it because they thought it was “funny” or that it would get “likes”, but you need to emphasize that those things don’t make it acceptable at all.
- Natural consequences. Our actions have consequences and your teen needs to know that. You must be clear and mindful in the privileges your revoke and consequences you dole out for cyber bullying behavior.
- Taking responsibility for your actions. You have to be a role model to your teen, which means you must practice taking responsibility for your actions to make sure they know that’s what they need to do as well. Encourage them to own up to their actions, apologize to those they’ve targeted, and change their behavior for the future. Also make sure they know you’re there for support when they need it.
Solstice East offers treatment for cyber bullying behavior in girls
Solstice East is a residential treatment center which offers help for cyber bullying and other issues in girls, ages 14 to 18. Our girls often grapple with depression, low self-esteem, anxiety, trauma, ADHD, bullying, and other emotional or behavioral problems when they come to us. When treating cyber bullying behavior, we strive to help students develop healthy habits and lead themselves back onto a path of success and happiness through meaningful therapy and a nurturing environment.
For more information about how we can help with cyber bullying at Solstice East, please contact us at 828-484-9946.