The Chicago Family Law Blog

Study: Cyberbullying More Stressful than Actual Bullying

A study in the American Journal of Public Health found that high school students who are bullied online are more likely to be depressed or have attempted suicide than students bullied only at school.

The study found that almost half of those students bullied both online and at school reported depression. A third of those bullied only online felt depressed. In contrast, only about a quarter of students bullied only at school said they were depressed, reports The Boston Globe.

With these grim findings, understanding cyberbullying for parents is very important. The following are five things you can do to help keep your child safe.

  1. Keep the family computer in a public place. If your child is bothered by something online, you can see her reaction if the computer is near you. Also, children are less likely to visit sites that may encourage bullying when there is adult supervision nearby.

  2. Talk to your child. Let your children know about bullying and cyberbullying and let your children know that you are there for them. Keep open lines of communication, so that your kids will come to you if distressed.

  3. Be aware of any behavioral changes. This goes hand-in-hand with talking to your children. Look for signs that your child is troubled like changes in sleeping pattern, becoming more uncommunicative, and a general unhappiness. These could all be signs that bullying may be going on.

  4. Look at your child's online profile and buddy list. No one likes to spy on their children, so ask your children who they chat with and hang out with online. Be on the lookout for unfamiliar names and faces.

  5. Warn your children about posting too much information online. Bullies need ammunition to bully. Let your children know that what they post online will remain online and can be seen by anyone.

Cyberbullying can be particularly cruel because it is often anonymous and young people may not understand the consequences of bullying. As a result, understanding cyberbullying for parents is important so that you can help your children get over these dangers.

Related Resources:

  • Find a Chicago Family Law Attorney (FindLaw)
  • Cyber Bullying (FindLaw)
  • School Bullying Lawsuit: HS Student Attacked for "Osama" Name (FindLaw's Chicago Personal Injury Law Blog)
  • Internet Safety Tips for Kids in Illinois (FindLaw's Chicago Family Law Blog)
  • Ask A Question about Family Law now (FindLaw Answers)