Social media has given parents and schools a whole new issue to be concerned with. The effects of online bullying can be detrimental and long lasting, especially since comments made online can last forever.
Karen Kietzman, a clinical psychologist, she said it is important to talk to your kids about what bullying means. An open dialog will help them understand when it is happening to them and when to ask for help.
“It is almost like the schools have inherited this problem, because parents have turned around and given their kids all of the technology possible, thinking that it is going to make them more successful in life. In retrospect, what it is doing is distracting them and causing them mental health issues that we never could even imagine,” said Officer George Zorzakis, a school resources officer.
While it is not face to face, bullying online gives the attacker a sense of security and allows them to say things they would not say in person.
“Some of the bullying is, you know, ‘you are such a bad person, you should just be dead’. That is very severe verbal abuse so you have to help them correct that internally and help them realize that that was a lie, that it is wrong. But they don’t have that internal voice sometimes and you need to provide it,” said Kietzman.
Experts say it is important to keep tabs on your children and keep open communication to help know when there is a change in their behavior and when something may be going on.
Kietzman says signs can include behavior change, isolation and even obsessive behavior about social media.
“The ability to just to know your child and be involved with your child in their events and being open about media and so you can maybe catch it. Even if you catch it ‘late’, you can still get your child help,” said Kietzman.
If you notice signs of depression, go to a doctor or school counselor.