Staying Safe on Social Media
Nearly 60% of teenagers have been bullied online, according to a study from the Pew Research Center. And, while connected platforms like social media, text messages and game networks make it easier than ever to stay in touch with friends and family, they also present an opportunity for bullies to find targets.
While your teen may have a normal experience when using online networks or texting others, these platforms offer bullies a way to harass others without face-to-face contact. Because of this, it can be hard to know when a teen is suffering from bullying.
Any type of bullying can lead to long-term emotional damage and health effects, so it’s important to learn some common signs of harassment:
- Sudden changes in social routines and friendships
- Anxious or nervous behavior
- Uncertain feelings about attending school or social events
- Unexplained physical symptoms, such as unusual appetites, headaches and weight changes
You can also use these tips to address or avoid cyber bullying:
- Never respond to bullying or harassment, and keep records of any offensive messages to use as evidence.
- Contact local law enforcement.
- Change settings in online platforms so teens can only communicate with people they know and trust.
- Encourage adolescents to talk to an adult about harassment, such as a family member or counselor.