The New Harm Of Social Media Bullying
Updated January 02, 2019
Reviewer Tanya Harell
Just twenty years ago, we never would have thought of anything called 'social media bullying' because social media wasn't a thing. Unfortunately, alongside all of the wonderful things associated with technology and social media are some very serious negatives. The potential for what's been labeled 'cyberbullying' is one of those extremely important aspects to consider. The internet has become yet another place where children can attack and hurt one another through bullying. Even worse, this type of bullying can be entirely anonymous and can include far more people than ever before.
What Is Bullying?
Bullying is any type of intimidation by one person to get someone else to do what they want, using strength, influence or any other means. The bully is the person who does the intimidating, and that bully could be anyone. Even more, there are several different types of bullying, from verbal and physical to the new social media and cyberbullying that we've only recently started to see. Any of these types of bullying, however, can have lasting effects on the child who is being bullied and they can lead to serious consequences throughout their life.
What Is Social Media Bullying?
Social media bullying is sometimes referred to as cyber bullying. Social media bullying is using any form of social media, whether Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat or anything else to intimidate or harm others. Anything that would be considered bullying if it were done in person is most definitely cyberbullying and social media bullying. Unfortunately, this type of bullying occurs in a completely anonymous way and place that makes it harder to report and harder to stop. Still, legislation is out there to protect people from social media bullying, and social media sites are banning the behavior as well.
What To Do If Your Child Is Bullying Others
With social media and the anonymity of the internet especially it can be far too easy for a child to get caught up in bullying behavior. That's why it's crucial that you explain the proper use of the internet to your child before you ever let them online. Let them know that bullying is not acceptable and that they should report it if they ever see any kind of bullying. There are usually site administrators that you can report the behavior to, and bullies can (and often will) be banned from the site. If your child is already bullying, it's important to take action right away.
Make sure your child understands that you do not approve of bullying and you will not allow them to engage in it. Taking away the use of social media or computers for fun can be an important aspect of refusing to allow this type of behavior. It's also important that you show your children how to use proper internet behavior by refraining from bullying or negativity yourself. Your child will model the type of behavior that you exhibit, which means if they see positive behavior they are more likely to engage in similar behavior themselves. Negative behavior, however, encourages the opposite.
What To Do If Your Child Is Being Bullied
If your child is being bullied, you want to talk to them about it immediately. Taking away the internet can be a way to take them away from the bullying, but it can make it feel like they are being punished for being bullied. That means making sure you do everything you can to report the bullying behavior and to make sure that it stops. Unfortunately, stopping cyberbullying is much harder than stopping other forms of bullying. If you don't want to take away the internet or website from your child the best thing you can do is block certain individuals, lockdown protections and encourage your child to report any bullying that does occur. It's also important for you to focus on building up their self-image and self-esteem.
Children who experience bullying can suffer in some ways, and that's why it's important to make sure that your child knows not to take anything a bully says seriously. If there is no way to get completely away from the bullying, or at least not one that you and your child are comfortable with, the best thing you can do is limit their time on those pages and make sure that your child understands the things the bully is saying are not true and that they should ignore the behavior entirely. It can be extremely difficult, and this is why it's usually better to take at least a short break from the websites to get away from the harmful words and actions.
Many times, bullies online are not even people that your child knows or it may start as someone the child knows and turn into something else entirely. Bullying can expand amongst a large number of people, which is why it's important to put as many protections as possible on your child's accounts. Make sure that they understand fighting back against a bully is not going to help anyone and being a bully back will not make the bully leave them alone or treat them any better.
How Does Social Media Bullying Affect Children?
Social media bullying affects children in the same ways that other forms of bullying does. It causes them to change their self-image and causes a lowering of self-esteem, which can result in long-term effects. Children who suffer from social media bullying don't even have a face to put to their bully, and when other people join in on the bullying, it feels like they're being ganged up on or like everyone agrees with the bully. This can harm their self-image even further and results in anxiety, depression and even self-harm.
Children who have been bullied over social media have committed suicide as a result, and this is why it is crucial to get the help they need immediately. Social media bullying is a very real and very serious threat to your child's wellbeing. Unfortunately, it's impossible to keep them entirely away from the internet. That means making sure you monitor everything your child does, everyone they interact with and even the perception they have of themselves. All of these things can be greatly affected online. With help from you, it's possible to start the process of mitigating the damage that is done. But first, you need to know what's happening.
How Does Social Media Bullying Affect Adults?
Social media bullying is something that doesn't only happen to children. More and more people of all ages are becoming victims of social media bullying. Whether you're a victim now or you were one in the past, it's important to get professional help as quickly as possible. A victim of bullying could still experience a lowered self-image, depression, anxiety and even thoughts of self-harm or suicide. It affects the way that an individual thinks about themselves for the rest of their lives if they don't get the help that they need.
Getting Treatment For Bullying
If your child is being bullied, it's important that you get professional help for them as soon as possible. Bullying greatly affects the way that your child thinks about themselves and also the way that they interact with the world around them. It can greatly impact their future and cause harm that takes a very long time to reverse. Getting professional help can set your child on the path to healing and make sure that they can have a normal and happy life in the future, despite what the bullying may have done to them. Even if your child is the bully, it can be extremely important to get them mental health treatment.
Helping your child with the thoughts and emotions that go along with being a bully or being bullied is crucial. This is the way that you help them to change from the old behavior to healthier, new behavior. A mental health professional will be able to help your child understand themselves and their actions better. They will be able to understand better how to help themselves and how to think about themselves to make sure that even if this type of bullying happens in the future, they are better prepared to take action and not to allow it to affect them in the future.
BetterHelp is one place that your child can get the therapy that they need without having to see a therapist in a traditional office. It's a completely online service that connects you to therapists located throughout the country. Not only that but your child can sit in their favorite spot in the house and still have a session. This helps them feel more comfortable, which encourages them to be more open with their therapist. No matter what is going on in your life, you'll still be able to get your child to their appointment, whenever they need it.