Oct 5, 2021
October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Recent statistics have shown that 1 in 5 kids/teens have reported being bullied in school, and that 37% of kids have reported being victims of cyberbullying (Data collected by DoSomething.org). According to StopBullying.gov, cyberbullying is best described as “sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else.” Many experts believe that the percentage of children who are experiencing cyberbullying is likely higher, but unfortunately cyberbullying often goes unreported as kids, teens, and even parents do not believe that much can be done about it. Kids and teens are also often reluctant to telling their parents or other adults when they have been cyberbullied out of fear of retaliation should no actions to stop the bullying take place.
In 2017 Texas passed “David’s Law” which requires schools to investigate reported incidents of cyberbullying that take place outside of the school campus, as well as enforce appropriate discipline to students who are found to have participated in cyberbullying behaviors. David’s Law was created to honor David Molak, who sadly took his own life after experiencing extensive cyberbullying across multiple social media platforms as well as through text messages.
David’s Law exists as a way to hold schools accountable for addressing the bullying behaviors of their students off-campus, as well as give families resources to help their children who are being cyberbullied. David’s Legacy Foundation also provides trainings to schools, organizations, and parents about ways to prevent and deal with cyberbullying. David’s Legacy Foundation can also provide legal support to families who have children that have experienced severe bullying incidents. You can find more information about David’s Legacy Foundation and David’s Law at https://www.davidslegacy.org/.
Often times, children’s behaviors will change rapidly after experiencing cyberbullying.
Some warning signs to look out for that may signal your child may be experiencing cyberbullying are:
being more withdrawn from family and/or friends
wanting to avoid school and refusing to attend social gathering with peers
becoming sad or agitated shortly after using their phones
expressing hopelessness or worthlessness
engaging in self-harm or expressing thoughts of self-harm
expressing suicidal ideation*
If you have concerns that your child is being cyberbullied, contact their school administrators, school counselor, as well as inform any of their outpatient providers (therapists, psychiatrists) to help support your child. David’s Legacy Foundation also has many resources for parents to utilize at https://www.davidslegacy.org/learn-and-do-more/i-am-a-parent-2/ .
*If your child is experiencing active suicidal ideation, contact the 24/7 Bexar County Crisis line at 210-223-SAFE (7233).