If you think Facebook, Instagram and other social media platforms are the only way kids today are bullying their peers, think again. While you are looking over your child’s shoulder or monitoring his or her social media with the idea you are protecting them, bullies different ways to get to their targets.
Just when tech giants appear to have a slight grasp on how to curb online bullying, children have become creative in their pursuit of harming others. The statistics are staggering and should serve as a wake-up call to all parents and other adults.
Using texts to bully someone
According to bullyingstatistics.org, “approximately 9 out of 10 teens have a cellphone, and about 1 in 5 will be victims of a text bully. About 1 in 10 teens engage in text bullying.” The article further states that this method of bullying is more common among girls.
Unfortunately, even knowing these shocking figures, this form of bullying may go unnoticed by parents or other adults as they are not visible on social media accounts. And, unlike blocking a bully on social media, an adult may be tempted to take the phone away from the victim as a protective measure, which may result in the child not divulging the situation to you out of fear of losing his or her phone.
Bullying in your child’s email
Your child’s email is another area of concern when it comes to bullying. Similar to texts, a bully can easily target a victim and go undetected when sending hurtful, intimidating, inappropriate, or threatening messages via email. With today’s tech-savvy bullies, lurking behind an alias is not a difficult task.
Although not face-to-face, bullying via email can be just as devastating to a victim. Helpguide.org states that while girls typically spread lies or rumors and may exclude a victim from a group, boys tend to send messages of a sexual nature or threaten physical harm.
Bullies using Google Docs as a terrorizing tool
Social media, texts, and emails are not the only areas of a child’s digital life that require monitoring, as bullies are taking to Google Docs to do their damage. Even though most consider Google Docs useful when it comes to productivity and collaboration, bullies have turned this innocuous word-processing tool into a favored bullying implement.
Bark, an online site that offers monitoring services across an array of platforms, states they have seen over “60,000 cases of kids ganging up on other children in Google Docs”. Children working in tandem write insensitive things, add images or embed videos into a shared Google Doc all in the name of being cruel.
With parents on alert, companies taking a stand, and laws in place, it is time to rid this behavior and protect future generations. If your child is the victim of cyberbullying or is the bully, there is help. In addition to several resources available online, stopbullying.gov has useful information. If the situation is life-threatening, call 911 immediately.