According to a new report this week in the Los Angeles Times, the recent suicide of 12-year-old Rebecca Ann Sedwick has brought more attention to the tragic reality that victims of cyberbullying are getting younger while digital bullies are growing more brazen.
Studies show that as many as 7 in 10 young people have experienced some form of cyberbullying in the last twelve months.
And of those victimized, 20% said that the cyberbullying experienced was “very extreme.”
Not surprisingly, parents and educators are growing exponentially more concerned about the impact of this tragic phenomenon. Experts tell NBC News that the possible side effects of student-on-student harassment and bullying include:
- Lowered academic achievement and aspirations
- Increased anxiety
- Loss of self-esteem and confidence
- Depression and post-traumatic stress
- General deterioration in physical health
- Self-harm and suicidal thinking
- Felling of alienation in the school environment
- Absenteeism from school
With families scrambling to find solutions and related measures to reduce this practice, attention has turned to a number of emerging online services that help parents monitor their children’s social media accounts, which is critical given that social media channels are a major conduit for bullying.
FamilySignal, for example, recently announced a partnership with PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, an organization that unites, engages and educates communities nationwide to address bullying.
PACER’s bullying prevention resources are designed to benefit all students, including those with disabilities.
“Every alert related to bullying will now include a link to PACER.org/Bullying to lead parents directly to their helpful resources for families and their children,” says FamilySignal co-founder Brian Eisenberg. “PACER will in turn make people aware of the online monitoring service we provide for families. Working together, hand-in-hand, we can broaden our reach and help young people who experience bullying.”
If you’re not familiar, FamilySignal helps protect children by monitoring Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts for conversations involving bullying, sex, drugs, alcohol, violence, profanity, racism and hate. Parents are notified within minutes via text messages when potential danger is detected so they can take immediate action.
To learn more about FamilySignal, click here.