With the rise of technology, adults have to not only worry about children getting bullied at school, they need to also be aware of the dangers of cyber bullying.  Cyber bullying is when someone uses technology as an avenue to bully or harass another person.  Cyber bullying is more dangerous than “typical” bullying because it is nearly inescapable.  A child’s life is surrounded by technology, and those who cyber bully always have a way to get to that person.  Cyber bullying can happen over text, instant message, email, popular phone apps, and social media.  Children who are cyber bullied will display similar behaviors to those who are bullied at school.  These behaviors include withdrawing from support people, being upset, acting out in school, and being constantly nervous, especially around technology.To learn more about cyber bullying, its signs, and how to identify cyber bullying, and how to help, visit:  http://kidshealth.org/en/parents/cyberbullying.html 

Cyber bullying often happens on social media platforms.  Many research studies and youth themselves will report that the top social media platform for cyber bullying is Instagram.  The over-use of Instagram can actually affect a person’s mental health.  When people see that others are having fun on social media, it makes them feel that their lives are not as interesting or exciting, raising their depression and anxiety.  Pictures on Instagram are often edited and utilize filters to make the subject look better.  These pictures can cause unrealistic expectations and can also cause youth to compare themselves to others, lowering their self esteem and self image.  Youth who post pictures of themselves can also experience bullying comments from others who point out their flaws.  To learn more about cyber bullying on social media, visit: http://time.com/4793331/instagram-social-media-mental-health/

Just because a child does not have a cell phone, does not mean they are safe from cyber bullying.  Cyber bullying also takes place over apps that can be downloaded onto iPads, iPods, and tablets.  Messenger apps that can be downloaded onto a devide and work as if you were text messaging on your phone.  They need login information and can be deleted so it makes it more difficult for parents to track usage.  To learn more about apps where cyber bullying takes place, visit: http://www.cnn.com/2013/10/10/living/parents-new-apps-bullying/index.html

One very scary challenge that is going across the internet today is called the Blue Whale suicide challenge.  This challenge gives a child tasks to complete to move on in the challenge.  The last task is for the child to kill themselves.  There have been many instances of this challenge occurring online, and it is so difficult for children and teens to resist the peer pressure to participate in the challenge.  It is so important to have discussions with youth about the dangers of this challenge and technology in general.  To learn more about the Blue Whale challenge, visit: https://www.thesun.co.uk/news/worldnews/3003805/blue-whale-suicide-victims-russia-uk-deaths/

How does someone stop cyber bullying?  Luckily, there are just as many apps that help combat cyber bullying as apps that allow it.  Mobicip is an app that allows parents to put controls on a child’s technology use by limiting time spent on the device and what can or can not be downloaded.  GoGoStat keeps track of a child’s posts on social media that are not appropriate.  If a child makes drug references, curses, or posts an inappropriate picture, the parent will be alerted.  The app also tracks when a child makes new friends or connections over the app.  To learn more about apps available to help parents manage cyber bullying, visit:  http://www.parents.com/kids/safety/internet/best-apps-prevent-cyberbullying/