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School Begins Soon, So Does Cyberbullying Increase?

Our new school year starts on Wednesday! Hard to believe our summer is gone.

As we head into the new year, I'm wondering if parents (and kids) should be more alert to cyberbullying and helping and supporting each other.

I read a disturbing article about one method of cyberbullying among teens on Facebook. They will take a group photo, maybe in a school cafeteria or at an after-school event. Then everyone in the photo except for one person will be "tagged" on Facebook. It is very subtle, but the message is that the person who is not tagged is an outsider who should not have been included.

These little things are important to know, especially as a parent, because kids don't always discuss what is bothering them or why. And if you see no "evidence" of bullying on Facebook -- such as would be the case with a "non-tagging" in a photo -- it's hard to get your arms around what's going down.

So I'm looking for feedback from the pre-teens and teens on the forum, and maybe also some college students. What are some subtle forms of cyberbullying out there that parents can be wise to? And do you also think that when school starts up, cyberbullying increases? Or does it take a couple of months for cliques to form before we see the effect of cyberbullying?

As you can probably tell from my post, I like to head off future problems at the pass by knowing what to expect before these issues show up. :-)

Hi Heidi,
I don't know if there is a way to predict bullying, but I can tell you it will increase during the school year, just because they are in "close quarters."
I think of individuals as castles. There's no way to keep the guy in the next castle over from invading, but you can strengthen the defenses to withstand the attack. Help them sort out thoughts and feelings. Validate their ideas, helping them reason through if the idea is "off". Find an activity they enjoy that doesn't necessarily have to do with school like dancing, martial arts, or volunteering at an animal shelter. (On a side note, I work with a rabbit rescue close to my home. They need volunteers to pet bunnies so they're used to being held, and thus, easier to adopt. Who doesn't want to pet bunnies!?)
Anyway, I say all this because it basically covers everything I pay a therapist a lot of money to help me do because I didn't have it in the first place. Adolescence is the tutorial for adulthood. Just because you turn 18, or 29, or 40 doesn't mean you won't have bullies, but if you have awesome, involved adults in your life, you'll know how to handle it, and your person-castle will be able to withstand.

In reply to VeggieBunnie

Great insights, thank you, VeggieBunny!