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Is Your Child a Cyber Bully?

There is hardly a day that goes by when we don't hear about some new incident of bullying occurring in the lives of our youth. Whether we turn on the TV, hear it from our kids own experience, or observe it ourselves...bullying is rampant.

Unfortunately, bullying is not a new phenomenon. Its various horrifying forms date back to the very beginning of humankind. However, in today's world, modern technology serves as an additional vehicle for bullies to attack their victims. A cyber bully doesn’t have to meet his or her victim face to face, but can use technology as an easy and unrelenting tactic to target their often unsuspecting victims. This “anonymity” has proven to be a way for bullies to take the humanity out of the process.

According to recent cyberbullying statistics and surveys conducted by the American Justice Department, one out of five kids admits to being a cyber bully or doing some bullying of their own Given this painful reality, what is a parent to do when they suspect their child is involved in tormenting someone else?

8 Quick Tips for the parents of a bully:

  • Remove the use of technology until your child can learn how to use it properly.
  • Discuss incidents during which bullying has had serious, even life threatening, repurussions.
  • Discuss healthier ways to get power needs met. Kids often seek power as a way to fit in. Some kids learn it is cool to bully others, and this can give them a temporary "high" in the power department.
  • Educate your child on why kids bully and how that is an unscrupulous and demoralizing way to treat others.
  • Insist that your child adhere to a strict code of conduct.
  • Ask your child why s/he feels the need to bully someone. Talk to him/her about otehr ways to behave.
  • Talk to your child about how to communicate effectively.
  • Be aware of your own "bullying behavior" at home. Are you, yourself bullying your child or family member? Is one sibling bullying another sibling? Bullying can be any type of behavior that is used to intimidate, overpower or harm another. Even hurtful comments or inappropriate digs can suffice. Many times a bully will hurt others if they themselves have learned that behavior and need to gain some power or purpose.

Bullying is a persuasive problem, and, with today's technology, kids are given even more unrestricted access to do harm. Identities and reputation can be altered in a split second with one harmful email or text message. Too many parents will turn the other cheek and excuse their kid's behavior by saying..."Kids will be kids!" If you suspect your child is the bully, get involved, be active and help your child deal effectively with what is troubling him.