Cyberbullying: What to Do If It Happens to Your Teen

May 16, 2008, 01:00 ET from California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists

    SAN DIEGO, May 16 /PRNewswire/ -- Cyberbullying, using the Internet,
 cell phones, or another type of communication technology to hurt or
 embarrass others, is an increasingly common problem among today's youth. In
 a recent study conducted by the National Crime Prevention Council and
 Harris Interactive Inc., more than 43% of teens ages 13-17 have experienced
 cyberbullying within the past year.
     According to the Pew Internet and American Life Project, about 93% of
 teens use social media Web sites, and 55% of online teens have created a
 profile through social networking sites such as MySpace and Facebook. These
 sites allow teens to express their feelings online for the cyber world to
 view. Often motivated by anger, frustration or boredom, cyberbullies harass
 individuals by posting negative comments and pictures.
     Victims of cyberbullying usually feel a wide range of emotions,
 including indifference, anger and embarrassment. According to a study
 conducted by Fight Crime, only 35% of teens have told a parent about being
 cyberbullied; 16% have told no one.
     Parents need to be aware of cyberbullying by monitoring their teen's
 online activity. If a cyberbully harasses your teen, the California
 Association Marriage and Family Therapists offers the following tips for
* Encourage your teen not to respond to the bullying. * Save pictures and messages as evidence. * Contact your teen's school to report the cyberbullying. * Closely monitor your teen's computer use. * Try to identify the individual doing the bullying. * If possible, block the cyberbully from future contact. * Try to contact the cyberbully's parents, if possible. * Contact the police or an attorney if cyberbullying becomes violent. Cyberbullying should not be taken lightly. If your child is seriously troubled by a cyberbully and it affects his or her emotional or mental behavior, consider seeking professional help. A Marriage and Family Therapist can help your teen build communication skills and develop strategies to solve problems effectively. For more information about Marriage and Family Therapists, or to locate a therapist in your area, visit The California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists (CAMFT), with 27 chapters throughout the state, is an independent professional organization, representing the interests of licensed Marriage and Family Therapists. CAMFT provides as a resource to prospective patients looking for marriage and family therapists located in California. For more information about CAMFT, call (858) 292-2638 or visit

SOURCE California Association of Marriage and Family Therapists