Cyberbullying is a big concern for parents, but how do we define it and do our children see it differently? The definition of bullying from StopBullying.gov is:
"Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.
In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:
An Imbalance of Power: Kids who bully use their power—such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity—to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people.
Repetition: Bullying behaviors happen more than once or have the potential to happen more than once.Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school-aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time."
Many kids have said to me that they don't see a lot of cyberbullying but once I probe deeper, I often hear about the ease with which kids say something mean just one time, about one incident. This would, by definition, not be classified as bullying. However, technology allows these one-off incidents to quickly spread and can turn them into repetitive incidents. Technology makes it easy to text or post something teens may not say in person. Another part that plays into this is that teens are also in the throws of developing impulse control and emotion regulation.
Questions to ask your kids about cyberbullying this week for Tech Talk Tuesday:
- How do you define cyberbullying? Then, share your definition.
- Have you ever been bullied?
- Do you think parents are overly worried about cyberbullying?
- Can you be cyberbullied via text, or just on social media?
- What do you do when someone says something mean online about someone else? How about when someone says something mean about you?