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Understanding cyber bullying

This is the second article in our series about bullying. Check out Understanding bullying.

In today’s technology-dependent society, bullying has extended beyond the playground to the virtual realm. Cyber bullying is teasing, harassment or otherwise inappropriate behavior that happens over the Internet in the form of e-mails, instant messaging, chat rooms, message boards and other internet resources. “Bullying via electronic sources is so prevalent that I prefer to extend the term to include other forms of electronic communication such as text messaging via cell phones,” explains Dr. Jennifer Caudle, D.O., family medicine resident at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, School of Osteopathic Medicine, and a speaker and consultant who has presented anti-bullying and character education workshops to students, parents and teachers.


If parents suspect their child is a cyber bully, Dr. Caudle recommends they take action immediately. “Many children are not aware that their behaviors can be considered  bullying or cyber bullying,” she says. Parents should make sure their child understands that bullying can range from name calling and physical violence to sending inappropriate e-mails and instant messages to peers.
“The best way to understand the dangers of cyber bullying is to first understand how the technology works,” Dr. Caudle adds. She suggests that parents learn how to e-mail, text message, instant message and use chat rooms. Involving the child in this learning can help parents recognize behaviors that may be out of the ordinary and cause for concern.

Resources for Parents

The Heart and Soul of the Next Generation: Extraordinary Stories of Ordinary Teens

By Dr. Michael J. Bradley

The Power to Be

By Lizzie Vishnevsky

How to Talk to Your Kids About School Violence

By Dr. Ken Druck

Reader’s Digest Parenting Guide: What to Do … When Kids Are Mean to Your Child

By Elin McCoy

A-Z Handbook of Child and Adolescent Issues

By Amy Beth Taublieb, Ph.D.

How to Handle Bullies, Teasers and Other Meanies

By Kate Cohen-Posey, M.S., LMHC, LMFT

How to Talk to Your Kids online resource directory



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