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Cyberbullying: It's Not Just the Kids

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Blog topics:  Archive

By Chetrice Mosley-Romero

If you’ve ever been around someone, whose solution for solving a problem, is, simply, to blame it on “the kids” and act as though it’s a problem that doesn’t affect adults, you’ve just described some of the challenges that exist in dealing with cyberbullying.

Living in a digital age, as we do, technology enables us to do a lot of things online that makes our lives easier, as well as safer and more secure. Unfortunately, as we know, cyberbullying is something that’s made its way from the school playground or, for adults, while working at a job or as part of their personal life to (and from) anywhere in the world.

Cyberbullying is defined as “an act of harassing or causing harm to someone using a digital device (cell phone, computer, tablet, mobile device, etc.) to send, post, or share negative, harmful, false, or demeaning content about someone else”. It occurs through SMS, text messaging, and apps, or online in social media, chat rooms/forums and emails. It also takes place in online video gaming where people can view, participate in, or share content. It also includes sharing personal or private information about someone else to embarrass or humiliate them or damage their reputation. At its worst, cyberbullying crosses the line into unlawful or criminal behavior.

Often times, when we hear about cyberbullying, it involves children, teenagers, and young adults. A lot of that may not come as a surprise, given the fact that 95 percent of teens in the U.S. are online and 60 percent of young people say they’ve witnessed online bullying.

That being said, it’s not just the kids.

In a study entitled “How Common Is Cyberbullying Among Adults? Exploring Gender, Ethnic, and Age Differences in the Prevalence of Cyberbullying,” research showed that almost 15 percent of the participants had ever been a target of cyberbullying before, with 2.2 percent reporting such experiences within the past month. Young adults (18-25 years) experienced the highest levels of cyberbullying (during both the lifetime and past month time frames), but substantial lifetime cyberbullying was reported by older age groups as well, including those 26-35 years (24 percent) and 46-55 years (13 percent), up to the 66+ age group (6.5 percent).

What’s the Solution?

Fortunately, there’s a lot of good information available from a variety of trusted resources – with just a few clicks – to help you deal with cyberbullying, including:

  • – Powered by the American Academy of Pediatrics, it’s a website for parents and families, whose mission is centered on the physical, mental, and social health and well-being for all infants, children, adolescents, and young adults.
  • – Includes the latest facts about cyberbullying, including a video to help parents, and more.

There’s also help out there for adults. For the same reasons that we’ve become more dependent on technology, it can be even more complicated, adults can be far more adept at hiding their online identity. As we get older, there are many ways to be bullied, including such as doxing, and swatting that can lead to dangerous situations and profoundly impact someone’s mental health.

For more information about staying safe online, visit the Indiana Cybersecurity Hub website. There’s all kinds of helpful tips for parents and what you can do when dealing with cyberbullies.

Just as the song says, R-E-S-P-E-C-T is something we all can do, as kids and adults!