CLEVELAND (NEWS10) — Parents hope that when they send their children to school, they’re not coming home with the emotional scars from bullying. But too often, the attacks are happening online, and a recent report says this type of bullying is on the rise.
A new report out by the Cleveland Clinic said that not only is online bullying on the rise among middle and high school students, but that young girls are at the highest risk.
“Boys might use their cell phones and the internet more for games, but girls use their phones and their tablets more for communication, and connection, and support,” Dr. Tatiana Falcone of the Cleveland Clinic said. “So if someone is being cyberbullied, and this is their main way of communication, they might feel more isolated. That might impact them more.”
A new report showing that during the 2016-2017 school year, 20 percent of students between the ages of 12 and 18 said they were bullies. Among those who were bullies, 15 percent said they were bullied online or via text, an increase from two years prior.
Doctors with the Cleveland Clinic said it’s easy for people to say mean things online or even join in with a bully when they feel they can do so anonymously.
It can also be hard for children to communicate to their parents that they are being targeted. This is why experts believe parents have to be on the front line when it comes to checking their children’s devices and talking with them about online bullying.
One thing to look out for is the number of friends your child has. Research shows that the more friends they have online, the more likely it is that some of those friends aren’t real friends at all.
“It’s important as parents to have these talks with your kids, but not only have this talk, but randomly check your kid’s phone,” Dr. Falcone advised. “Look what are their friends; make sure that each one of these people who said that they’re friends are real and not people that they don’t know.”
Previous research also showed a strong link between bullying and depression, and too often, parents are the last to know.
In addition, October 23 is National Unity Day where students wear orange to stand together against bullying.