This holiday season, many kids and teens will receive their first digital device. This will no doubt be a joyful moment for our little loved ones, but as the saying goes, “with great power, comes great responsibility.” While these platforms can foster learning, encourage play and bring us closer together, they also present the potential for trouble when children are able to connect with the unfiltered, wide world of the web. Parents need to pay attention to and communicate with children about all applications they are using on cell phones, tablets, computers and any other device with internet access.

This time of year is a good one to sit down and talk with your child about cyberbullying.screen_large

Approximately 7 percent of students in 6-12th grade experienced cyberbullying last year, according to the latest statistics available at For high school students, 15 percent reported electronic bullying in the past year. Research on cyberbullying is growing. However, because kids’ technology use changes rapidly, it is difficult to design surveys that accurately capture trends.

Thomas Hobson, of Le Bonheur Children’s Hospital, says this is why asking questions, communicating and being aware of what social media your child is on is extremely important.

What is cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place using electronic technology. Electronic technology includes devices and equipment such as cell phones, computers and tablets as well as communication tools including social media sites, text messages, chat and websites.

How do I know if my child is being cyberbullied?

Some warning signs of cyberbullying could include:

If your child shows any of these signs, it doesn't necessarily mean that he or she is being cyberbullied, but it is worth exploring.

How can I monitor my child’s technology?

Some things to do to help monitor your child’s online usage:

What should I do if I think my child is being bullied online?

The main thing to consider is to keep the lines of communication open with your child. Simply talking to them usually will produce good information for you to work from.

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