LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — Bullying can be one of the most damaging aspects of social media that can impact children at any time.
Modern-day bullying can go on long after the last bell rings. It’s a 24/7 concern because the ability to reach out on social media never stops.
“Anybody with a cell phone can be a bully – and all it takes for some kids, is one comment, to push them in the wrong direction,” says Lt. Bryan Zink with CCSD police.
When many of us were kids, bullying might happen at school. However, now bullying can take place 24/7 because the ability to reach out on social media never stops.
“Unfortunately it’s too consistent, too prevalent, in today’s society,” says Lt. Allen Larsen with Metro Police.
Cyberbullying is where keyboard classmates are finding courage, behind a screen.
“They’re saying things and spreading things online that nobody would ever say if they were right in front of another person,” says Lt. Larsen.
A Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study found three out of 10 students have experienced cyberbullying, and are then at higher risk of developing anxiety or depression.
Counselors say this is a common reason children come to see them.
“A lot of listening, I think too, but just a lot of educating….we take every experience a child has, good or bad, pleasant or unpleasant, and we make it a learning opportunity,” says Tom Shininger a Las Vegas Day School Dean and Counselor.
There are a few examples of what parents can be on the lookout for when it comes to dealing with cyberbullying.
“One common thing we see when kids are being cyber-bullied, or, if they’re engaged in other inappropriate things online is generally there will be a difference in their mannerisms…..you’ll start seeing them more withdrawn,” Lt. Larsen tells 8 News Now.
Experts say limiting your child’s social media usage can be a good start.
“As parents, if you’re not limiting the amount of social media that your child is on, and where and how frequently they’re accessing it – your kind of doing a disservice to your own child,” says Lt. Larsen.
Another bit of advice from experts, parents actively paying attention to their child’s social media pages and interactions can also be important.
“Be actively engaged with your child on social media,” adds Lt. Larsen.
Experts also advise children who are currently dealing with the situation, to seek out someone to tell.
“Find an adult that you trust – whether that’s a teacher, coach, counselor, hopefully, your own parents – but no matter what family situation or life situation you find yourself in – there are people that wanna help you,” advises Lt. Larsen.
Shininger also counsels adults to keep a line of communication open with all individuals involved.
“It is very important that they have that open dialogue from parents to kids to counselors,” says Shininger
Another step for parents to take can include, talking with children about their online activity.
In the end, parents may discover that their children are being bullied, or they may be able to ensure that their child doesn’t become the bully.
Another important step for parents to take can include, reminding children how it would feel to be on the receiving end of the bullying incident.
“Be careful what you say…..think if it was you on the opposite side of that,” Lt. Zink says.
“They wanna look cool, like, how tough I am……if you were to think about the impact that you’re having on that other person,” adds Lt. Larsen.
A final tip for parents, remembering that Iphones, Ipads, and computers can all be shut off if needed.
“Sometimes when that stress keeps piling on and the mean comments keep coming, sometimes just taking a break from it, and letting yourself calm down and think with a clear head……gets everything under control,” says Shininger.