One of the toughest parts of parenting is helping your kids navigate the often-treacherous landscape of social media and the internet. They can both be such amazing resources for young people, both in terms of information and helping them find their tribe and connect with friends and family. But they also misused and abused, and cyberbullying is just one way that social media and the internet is being used to hurt and torment our young kids.
We've all heard the stories of kids driven to suicide by cyberbullying campaigns, and it is absolutely heartbreaking. As a parent, it's vital that you're aware of the different kinds of cyberbullying out there, so you can be a better source of support and advocate for your kids to keep them safe.
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Subtweeting is when someone passive aggressively tweets or posts about another person, without naming them. Usually, the contents of the subtweet are enough for others to identify who they're talking about, especially if they have knowledge of the particular situation. For the victim of the subtweet isn't technically targeted or named, they may not even be aware that a friend is talking about them in a mean or critical way.
We've heard a lot about ghosting in terms of dating - it's when you have a connection or even a relationship with someone, and then they suddenly disappear from your life without an explanation. Poof! Like a ghost. For young people who are being ghosted by a friend in their social circle, it can be incredibly hurtful when the friend suddenly stops communicating with them for no reason.
Creating fake accounts to harass or intimidate someone
This is a big one. Kids who engage in cyberbullying typically have enough sense not to attack or bully someone using their own accounts, so they create fake accounts they can use that don't identify them. Someone may also create a fake account in your kid's name using their photos, and use the account to spread rumors and hurtful information.
Contributing to the rumor mill
Rumors run rampant, and often unchecked, on the internet and social media. In a lot of ways, it's the perfect medium for spreading falsehoods and hurtful lies - people see something on social media and will take it as truth and continue spreading it, without verifying the information. When your child is the subject of the rumors, it can be devastating. If they participate in spreading the rumors, they can be unintentionally hurting someone else.
Griefing is a specific type of cyberbullying that you'll see a lot of in gaming. It's when one player targets another player, killing them or stealing their bounty or game loot, and harassing them in online game chats. It can make online gaming incredibly unpleasant and damper your kid's enthusiasm for their game.