At Sundance Canyon Academy, we hear from a lot of parents who are concerned that their son is being bullied. With the rise of social media and online gaming, it’s easier than ever for teens to bully one another outside of school. If you are worried that your son is developing low self-esteem from cyberbullying, contact us for help. Your son might benefit from a change of pace in a supportive scholastic environment.
Over the past decade, kids have started spending more time online. As smartphones and tablets become more accessible and necessary, it’s easier for kids to stay connected with each other at all times. As you can imagine, such unlimited access to socializing comes with its pros and cons, and cyberbullying is a major problem for many teens today.
As a parent today, you probably didn’t grow up with unlimited online access the way that kids experience it now. You may have spent some time in chat rooms or playing online games, but you couldn’t bring the internet with you everywhere you went. You had to physically be in a building with a strong internet connection. So, you probably spent your online time at home or at a location designed with online access in mind.
Today’s kids don’t have to deal with finding an internet connection. According to a 2019 article from NPR, over half of American children over 11 have smartphones. If you’re looking specifically at teens, 84% of teens had a phone in 2019. That number certainly hasn’t dropped over the past couple of years. Teens and tweens are growing up with a smartphone in their pocket and constant internet availability, making cyberbullying even more prevalent and harder to spot.
Internet access and cyberbullying
It used to be that kids would only see each other at school or when they were hanging out in their neighborhoods. Apart from time physically interacting with their friends, kids spent most of their time at home interacting with their families.
Now, the majority of teens spend plenty of time glued to their screens. They’re interacting on social media apps like Snapchat and TikTok, or they’re playing online games. Online gaming has gotten a lot more advanced in the past decade, and users can access countless games via their phone, tablet, or gaming console.
These days, most popular online games include interaction with other players online. Gone are the days of playing Tetris by yourself or inviting friends over to play Mario Kart. Now, players can log on from anywhere in the world and compete against each other in real-time. This can be a lot of fun for online gamers, but it can also lead to gaming cyberbullying.
Whether your teen is playing online with friends from school or with strangers, they could still have issues with bullying. Online gaming can get pretty intense, and players are not always friendly. As your child spends more time on online gaming platforms, it’s important that you keep an eye out for cyberbullying.
Signs of cyberbullying
Cyberbullying might not seem like a big deal since it’s happening online, but it’s incredibly harmful. Bullying is not a new concept. Kids have been picking on each other and bullying each other for a long time. However, most bullying used to take place at school. Once the kids left school for the day, the bullying ended for the day. The internet has changed all of that.
Now, when kids get bullied at school, it can follow them home. Their bullies can find them online and continue to harass them virtually. If your kid is getting bullied even when they should be safe at home, they’ve got a problem. When your kid is being cyberbullied, you need to step in and help them regain their safety.
Some signs of gaming cyberbullying include:
Being sad after playing games online
Feeling like they have to play online games to fit in
Feeling like a failure if they mess up in an online game
Quitting a game that they used to like because they aren’t good enough at it
Showing signs of depression
If your child is being bullied online, treat it similarly to how you would treat real-life bullying. Let your teen know that you are there for them. Point out that other people cannot determine their self-worth. Help them find online games and social sites that encourage positive friendships. Your teen wants to be accepted by their peers and feel like they are worthy of love. Help them find ways to make friends and engage in positive activities.
If your teen son is too dependent on online gaming, he may need additional support. Some teens are so enmeshed in online gaming that they base their self-worth on their online persona. Your son needs to understand his value as a person in the physical world as well.
Many teens who struggle with internet addiction and low self-esteem see progress by attending a therapeutic boarding school. Students receive personalized treatment plans to develop a healthy view of themselves and the world.
Call us at 866-639-2856 for more information about our program.