INDIANAPOLIS, Oct. 7 (UPI) — Teens who bully and mock via texting, Facebook posts, tweets and YouTube videos don’t see the immediate consequences of the behavior, U.S. researchers say.
Brandie Oliver, an assistant professor in Butler University’s graduate program for school counseling, said online bullies mistakenly think that once they’ve sent a message “it disappears into space” and can’t be traced back to them.
“If a girl posts a mean remark online, she doesn’t have to witness the target’s hurt reaction,” Oliver said in a statement. “Many students post messages that they would never say in a face-to-face situation.”
However, these teens get upset when they realize their messages or posts can be retrieved and often are used in disciplinary school actions, Oliver said.
To prevent digital dramas, Oliver suggested:
— Children accept “friends” online who you know and trust.
— Kids shouldn’t engage in online bullying, gossip or passing on embarrassing photos and video.
— Everyone should understand whatever is posted — a message, picture, video — can be commented on by others.
Oliver said parents and adults should:
— Get involved in the digital world of your teen.
— Educate youth about the online world.
— Don’t “cave in” to a teen’s begging for online access if he or she can’t deal with digital drama.