Cyberbullying and Suicide – Know the Warning Signs

Cyberbullying and Suicide – Know the Warning Signs
Cyberbullying and Suicide

With school back in session, cyberbullying is bound to be on the rise. Unfortunately, there is a relationship between cyberbullying and suicide. So it’s important that parents know the signs of both. With World Suicide Prevention Day on September 10th, the World Health Organization estimates that over 800,000 people die by suicide each year.

 

With technology today, bullying doesn’t end when the school day ends. It continues via text messages, various forms of social media, and email; which is why it is called cyberbullying.  In 2013, 14.8% of students aged 13-17 reported being cyberbullied. Just like typical bullying, it is distinguished by:

 

  • Intent to harm
  • Repeated hurtful or aggressive behavior
  • Real or perceived imbalance of power between the victim and the bully

 

The main problem with cyberbullying is that it can continue 24 hours a day, 7 days a week without a break. The bully can hide behind their computer or phone and their hurtful messages can be spread in an instant to the whole school and beyond.

 

What to look for if you suspect your child is being cyberbullied:

 

  • Acting withdrawn or depressed
  • No longer want to go to school or other activities
  • Were a good student and are now falling behind
  • Online behavior is changing
  • Appear to be nervous or upset when they check a social media account or a text message

While most victims of bullies do not usually engage in suicidal related behavior, those who are cyberbullied are at higher risk. There are some ways to help prevent it.

 

  • Don’t be a bystander. When you see these messages, posts or anything shared on social media or via text or email, don’t share it, report it. Don’t give the bully an audience.
  • Support the victim, reach out to him or her
  • Tell a parent, an adult, or a school administrator
  • Report cyberbullying to the site it’s occurring

 

Parents can take these steps:

 

  • Monitor your child’s social media accounts
  • Monitor teen phone use
  • Know your child’s passwords, not to spy, but to check up once in a while for their safety
  • Create safety rules such as internet use, passwords, privacy and what will happen if they break the rules
  • If your child is being cyberbullied, report it to their school, your online service provider, and the local law enforcement. This is being taken very seriously.

 

See these resources below:

 

Promote Prevent: Cyberbullying

Center for Disease Control and Prevention: The Relationship between Bullying and suicide: What we know and what it means for Schools

Promote Prevent: Family Media Agreements for Internet Use _ Example Contract

Family Online Safety Institute: Teens and Online Messaging Apps