Technology’s prevalence in our daily lives increases every year. Mostly for the better, but of course it has consequences as well. In today’s world, everyone is connected. We all have access to a mobile phone, a tablet, or a similar device that allows us to interact with the internet and social media daily. Although having access to the internet can aide in communication, vastly increase research and learning abilities, and increase awareness about the world around us, it can also open up channels for cyberbullying and harassment, especially among pre-teens and teenagers. As a therapist in the Manhattan Beach area, I am here to help clients deal with all forms of cyberbullying and work through the issues that can arise as a result of cyberbullying. Whether you are a parent or a client (or both), I can help your family confidently navigate social media and the internet without experiencing harassment and bullying, or harassing or bullying others.
Cyberbullying is the use of technology to bully, harass, threaten, or target an individual. Although cyberbullying can occur among adults, it’s primarily present among teenagers and has become more prevalent in recent years. Today, 1 in 4 teens are subject to cyberbullying. As a parent, we want to ensure that our children are as safe as possible, especially from bullies. Studies have shown that victims of cyberbullying have increased chances of psychosomatic symptoms like headaches, sleep problems, stomach aches, decreased appetite, lower self-esteem, and potential thoughts about suicide.
As a parent, I encourage you to teach your child how to be safe on the internet, while also monitoring the signs and symptoms of cyberbullying so that you can step in if needed. I recommend the following:
Although you may take all the steps explained above, some teens will still experience cyberbullying. If you suspect your child is being cyberbullied, sit down with them for a conversation. Encourage them to tell you about the situation: what is happening and who is involved? Depending on the situation, parental intervention may be necessary or it may not be. Through dialogue with your child, together, you can decide on the best solution. Is it an argument between friends with name calling? Can they figure it out themselves? Or, is the situation more serious and is causing extensive issues? Always do what is in the best interest of your teen. If you believe the situation is too complicated or difficult to navigate alone, please contact my South Bay therapy office.
Social media is difficult to navigate, both as a teen and as a parent. As your Manhattan Beach therapist, I am here to help my clients deal with the complexities of social media and cyberbullying. For any questions or concerns, please contact my office and we will work together to effectively address these complicated issues.