Everyday we see headlines and hear news reports of cyberbullying among teens that frequently end in tragedy. Just recently, 16 year old actress Millie Bobby Brown (Enola Holmes) came forward about being cyberbullied while appearing on the show “Stranger Things”…..when she was only 12 years old. She wrote“… the inaccuracy, inappropriate comments, sexualization and unnecessary insults … ultimately have resulted in pain and insecurity for me. But not ever will I be defeated.”
Thankfully, she is a strong young lady, but most tweens are not able to navigate online bullying on their own. The word “tween” has traditionally meant children just shy of their teen years, typically 10-12 year olds. However, that term now includes children as young as 7-8 years old as they are being enticed into the tween mentality.
“According to a Tween Cyberbullying 2020, new report from Cartoon Network and the Cyberbullying Research Center, online abuse is a growing problem for younger kids now that 21% of 9-year-olds and 68% of 12-year-olds have an internet-enabled smartphone. The report found 15% of tweens have witnessed cyberbullying; 6% have been cyberbullied many times; 8.5% report being cyberbullied once or twice. Among kids who’ve been targets, nearly 70% say it negatively impacted their self-esteem. Almost one-third said it affected their friendships, 13.1% said it affected their physical health and 6.5% said it impacted schoolwork.”
Given these statistics, it is fair to say that children are experiencing cyberbullying at very young ages, and the likelihood of your child having some type of exposure to cyberbullying is very high. For younger children without access to smartphones, cyberbullying is especially prevalent in video games with multip-player settings. This report should be enough to urge parents to have open dialogue with their tweens about the issue of cyberbullying. With your support, you can help to equip them with the tools they need to stop cyberbullying from happening to them or someone else.