If you don’t think your child is being harassed take a note of this:
50% of people ages 14-24 have experienced digitally abusive behavior. *
61% of those who have sent a naked photo or video of themselves have been pressured by someone to do so at least once.*
*2009 poll conducted by MTV
Digital harassment is when technology and electronic communication devices are used to “stay in touch” – but the relationship has become manipulative and controlling. If someone is feeling badgered or threatened this is a form of cyber-bullying and many times takes place between two people in a romantic relationship. Many times there are demands for passwords, inappropriate photos, requests for one of the parties not to be a friend to another on a social website or it may become a time when lies / rumors are spread or someone is being impersonated.
In the 2009 poll conducted by MTV it was found that those being targeted by this sort of harassment may not want to come to school anymore, may engage in risky behavior or even have ideation of suicide. For parents this is a time for you to stay close to your teen and support them, with discussions about online safety and reminding them that you are there for them. You may also want to encourage your child to be willing to talk to other trusted adults such as a teacher or counselor at school. Help them to to set boundaries that they are comfortable with. Most of the time when photos are sent, passwords shared or other inappropriate acts take place on line it happens after there has been pressure put on the student by one or more other students.
Here are a couple of resources that may be of help to you and your family.
National Teen Dating Abuse Helpline 1-866-331-9474
- Make sure as a parent that you check your kids texts and status updates.
- Having rules for them to follow and consequences for not following them.
- Make sure you are on the same page as to what information can be shared with others and what is not appropriate.
- Help them to understand that all of their messages once sent can easily be copied and forwarded thousands of times.
Continue to watch our site as we look at the subject of bullying and relational aggression and how parents and students can successfully navigate this part of our lives. Look at DigitalHarassment-Tip for Parents.