The Internet has given bullies, who once harassed their peers on the playground, the anonymity and confidence to threaten and intimidate anyone from anywhere. Harassment of any kind through electronic communication is what is known as cyber bullying, and this phenomenon originated with cell phones and the Internet and, unfortunately, it continues to thrive today. While we often hear about cyber bullying in the news, it can be hard to grasp just how big of an issue this modern form of abuse can be– because of this, education and action need to become major areas of focus in combating this problem.
Cyber Bullying Statistics
- 43% of kids have been cyber bullied — 1 in 4 have experienced it more than once.
- 34% of students surveyed in 2016 have been harassed online at some point in their lives, which is almost double the amount reported by students of similar ages in 2007.
- 68% of teens agree that cyber bullying is a serious problem.
- 80% of cyber bullying occurs via smartphone in the form of texting or social media.
- The most common types of bullying online are hurtful comments (14.3%) followed by rumors being spread (13.3%).
- Young girls are twice as likely to partake in cyber bullying, both as the bully and the victim, than their male peers.
By taking a look at the figures above, it is obvious that cyber bullying is a huge issue. It’s such an issue that it has become the main focus of the First Lady’s platform.
Melania Trump’s Fight Against Cyber Bullying
Just as Former First Lady, Michelle Obama, used her platform to help children fight childhood obesity through her program, Let’s Move: America’s Move to Raise a Healthier Generation of Kids, new First Lady, Melania Trump, has chosen an issue that impacts children across the country for her platform as well: cyber bullying. In a speech leading up to the election, she said,
“We have to find a better way to talk to each other, to disagree with each other, to respect each other. We must find better ways to honor and support the basic goodness of our children, especially in social media. It will be one of the main focuses of my work, if I’m privileged enough to become your First Lady.”
Mrs. Trump has experienced bullying online herself, and some have even gone as far as to ridicule her ten year old son, Barron Trump. While the majority of people across party lines find this behavior reprehensible, it continues to happen–adults speak ill of a child, simply because of their views on his father. This alone could be the reason she has decided to take a stance against online bullies. While many believe her husband to be a social media cyber bully on Twitter, having the issue of cyber bullying at the top of the First Lady’s mind will hopefully impact the situation in a positive way by bringing to light this all-too-common problem.
Education & Action: Our Best Chance of Beating Cyber Bullying
Being aware of cyber bullying as an issue is the first step in stopping the abuse, and though some of the statistics above might seem staggering and hard to beat, there are some things we can do as a community to discourage people from cyber bullying and encourage people to be the good by supporting one another.
1. Limit children’s time in front of screens
2. Teach your children how to handle issues with others without bullying– Many students who said they experienced bullying also admitted to being bullies themselves, by teaching children to handle their issues in ways besides physical or cyber bullying, future generations might not have to experience the same conflicts.
3. Talk to your kids about their activity online– Though it can be a hard conversation to have, talk to your children about which sites you believe are/aren’t appropriate to visit.
4. Teach them to report any bullying they see online to you– Seventy percent of students report seeing frequent bullying online, but only one in ten will actually report it to an adult; this is why adults, including parents, teachers, and family friends, should encourage open communication between them and their children about any cyber bullying they experience or witness while online.
Hailey R. Carlson | Axiom Cyber Solutions | January 27, 2017
~Below, these facts, figures, and possible solutions are summarized in an infographic, brought to you by Axiom~