Cyber-Bullying: Is Your Child at Risk?

Cyber Bullying Part 1

If you have a school-aged child, he or she is very likely to have been involved in bullying to some extent. As a martial arts instructor, I see parents coming in all the time to ask for advice about how to “bully-proof” their children. There used to be a rather straightforward answer that involved teaching children the skills they needed to fend off the bully that approached them in the school yard or on the way to or from school.

Now, we are seeing that bullying is changing. It doesn’t necessarily involve a “brute” of a boy picking on the small kid, shy kid or just plain different kid. It doesn’t just occur during school hours. It doesn’t just involve nasty notes or writing on the bathroom walls. Bullying has evolved as quickly as technology has been evolving because all these great advances that are supposed to make our lives easier serve as the medium for bullying. Bullying now includes a space on the World Wide Web with an audience that’s too large to count, but even though the medium has changed, it’s still abuse and it’s still a way for one person (or group of people) to thrive on an imbalance of power to terrorize someone else.

It’s called cyber-bullying and it can permeate literally every aspect of your child’s life. We know that about one third of kids say they have been bullied at least once and that about one tenth of kids admit that they are bullied every day. These numbers don’t include the children who are bystanders who observe the bullying but do nothing to stop it. If that’s your kid, you’re lucky because those who are actively involved in cyber-bullying can suffer grave consequences whether they are the bully or the bullied.

Some people immediately jump to the thought that technology can easily be banned from the affected children’s lives, but the issue goes much deeper than that. Cyber-bullying is not simply a technological issue, but an issue of what we are teaching (or not teaching) our children on how they can use these great advances to interact with the people in their lives and how today’s children are held responsible for their actions.

It’s also very important for parents to know about this modern form of bullying and how to handle it as well as what we can do to teach our kids to empathetic and give them the skills they need so that they are not likely victims. That’s what we do when we have bullying seminars and self-defense courses for children and the results of teaching them these skills are very positive.

Part 2 of Cyber Bullying Here.

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