Cyber bullying is a relatively new term that came out within the last couple of years. Regardless of how new or old it is, it is still something that is a real and unfortunate part of today’s youth.

Cyber bullying is something that occurs over the internet and social media. A cyber bully is someone who bullies another teen utilizing the technology that is the internet, whether or not it is on a social media platform, such as Facebook or Twitter.

A cyber bully has a bit more creativity, unfortunately than a regular bully, due to the fact that he or she can make up phony profiles. Worst of all, as in recent media reports, a cyber bully does not necessarily mean another teen, either. Cyber bullies can also be adults. As sick as it may sound, other adults may have a fear of one teen out-competing another and begin to bully that teen to tear their spirit down. Or, a cyber bully adult may seek revenge on someone who has offended his or her child. No matter if it is an adult or teen, cyber bullying is serious.

There are many signs of possible cyber bullying:

• Pay attention to your child’s behavior. If he or she is depressed, it may be because someone is bullying him or her.
• Check up on your child’s social media statuses. If your child is posting or tweeting things that indicate something is up, it may be because of bullying.
• If your teen is quiet and withdrawn, this may be a direct indication of depression due to cyber bullying

Things you can do to check in on cyber bullying:

• Make sure to take an active role in your child’s social media presence
• Request that they allow you to check their social media presence from time to time
• Draw up a contract before you allow your child to have any social media profiles; state that you can ask for and have access randomly and that you want his or her computer on the kitchen table at night when they go to sleep
• Keep active conversations going with your teen. Keep it simple and general, but keep the communication going – you never know what may come out.
• Let your teen know that no matter what the circumstances are, you are there for them
• Tell your teen that if they do not feel comfortable talking with you, they can talk with a trusted aunt or uncle

Teen depression is common enough without having to add cyber bullying in the mix. However, unfortunately, cyber bullying is real and you must watch for the signs so you can treat the symptoms.

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