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Tween Bullying Over Social Media

by T Akery | October 28th, 2013 | Safety, Tweens

girl bench phoneIt is always disturbing to read about the death of a tween to suicide from bullying. The death of Rebecca Sedwick  in the news last week was about this very thing. But there are some real lessons for parents to learn from this tragedy. There is a lot more than Facebook that parents need to monitor in regards to their Tween’s online activity. Often, you may be quite unaware of what your Tween is saying over instant messaging services or a number of other sites that Tweens use to communicate through each other. The task of discovery can be difficult for parents who aren’t on top of the newest trend. So, here are some things that you can do to monitor what is going on in your Tween’s social life and hopefully stop the bullying.

If your Tween has a Smartphone, you need to check it on a regular basis for messages and pictures that have been sent and received. While your Tween may protest this act as an invasion of privacy, it isn’t. You pay the phone bill. Everything posted over the network is not private information and you have a right and responsibility to be aware of what your Tween is doing when you aren’t watching them. Sure, it is fine to call friends but if your Tween is sending and receiving threatening messages, you need to know about it.

Watch for changes in your Tween’s behavior. There are many warning signs of bullying and of a Tween being a bully. A bullied tween will lose confidence in themselves. They may put themselves down to parents or friends. They may become depressed or turn from outgoing into an introvert. You really need to pay attention to how your Tween sees themselves. Even though they are more independent, they are not immune to the harsh words of their peers.

Bullying tweens also have some signs. They may become obsessed with a classmate over a perceived incident. They may blow things out of proportion over a fight. They may use duplicate accounts as an attempt to hide their threats. They also may suffer from low self-esteem issues and depression. They often try and recruit people to “their side.” Just like bullied tweens, these tweens need their parents to step in to stop this behavior. That requires regularly monitoring of all of their social activity. It is often difficult to see your own Tween as the bully and it is easy to deny it. But denying it doesn’t help anybody.

Bullying happens on more than just Facebook. Even though you may have access to this site, your Tween may have other accounts. One of the big lessons that can be taken from this story is to be aware of every social site they use and that includes the stuff on their Smartphones.

Rebecca’s mom has set up a Facebook page to honor her daughter.

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