Social Media and Cyber-Bullying

Cyber Bullying

Social media has become an integral part of children's lives. It's great for connecting with friends and exploring new interests. However, excessive use can have detrimental effects on your child's mental health and well-being. It's crucial for parents to understand the impact of social media overuse and how it can potentially lead to cyber-bullying and other harmful outcomes.

Dr. Richard Newman is a licensed and experienced psychologist who offers therapy for children, adolescents, and parents. He is conveniently located in Woodland Hills, in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, CA.  One of his specialties is working with children and their parents who need help coping with a variety of issues, including social media use.  

Positives and Negatives of Social Media Use

Social media platforms are designed to be engaging and sometimes addictive, making it easy for children to spend endless hours scrolling through feeds and interacting with Internet content. While social media can provide a positive sense of connection and belonging, excessive use can lead to negative consequences. It can detract from needed sleep, physical exercise, in-person peer interaction, family meals, and time needed for schoolwork.  Moreover, excessive use of social media has been linked to very serious mental health problems including depression, anxiety, eating disorders, loneliness, self-injury, and suicide.

If you need help managing your child's social media use, make an appointment to see Dr. Newman today.

Social Media and Cyber-Bullying

Unfortunately, social media opens the door to cyber-bullying. Cyber-bullying involves the use of technology to harass, intimidate, or humiliate others. It often involves gossip, social ostracism, and intentionally trying to damage another child's self-esteem. Unlike traditional teasing and bullying, cyber-bullying can occur around the clock, invading your child's personal space and leaving lasting emotional scars.

Social media overuse exposes your child to a wide range of interactions that can become hostile or abusive. The ability to become anonymous on a smartphone or laptop computer means perpetrators can engage in extremely harmful, and indeed illegal, behaviors.

Signs of Social Media Overuse and Cyber-Bullying

As a parent, it's important to recognize the warning signs of social media overuse and cyber-bullying. If your child is spending excessive amounts of time online, you might notice:

  • Changes in behavior, such as irritability, withdrawal, or neglect of responsibilities
  • Changes in eating and sleeping habits
  • Decline in motivation and grades at school
  • Diminished interest in everyday activities
  • Difficulty concentrating; disorganization
  • Frequent headaches and stomach aches; refusal to go to school
  • Isolation and secretiveness

If your child is experiencing cyber-bullying, you might notice:

  • Emotional distress, anxiety, panic, impulsivity
  • Avoidance of classmates, siblings, and parents
  • Expressions of shame, guilt, fear, and insecurity
  • Statements of worthlessness and poor body image
  • Risky behavior, including substance use or promiscuity
  • Signs of self-injury such as cuts on arms and legs

How You Can Help

You can play a vital role by setting boundaries and monitoring your child's online activities. Establish clear guidelines around screen time. Teach your child to recognize the signs of cyber-bullying and how to respond appropriately, whether it's blocking the other person, reporting the incident, or seeking help from you or another trusted adult. Maintaining open communication between you and your child is critically important---this is where psychotherapy can help.

Schedule a Psychotherapy Consultation

You're not alone if you're feeling overwhelmed by your child's social media use and the thought of cyber-bullying. To book an appointment with Dr. Newman, call 818-518-4962 or email him at [email protected].  To learn more about him, go to www.DrRSNewman.com.  His office is conveniently located off the 101 Freeway in Woodland Hills, in the San Fernando Valley of Los Angeles, CA. Surrounding communities include Agoura Hills, West Hills, Hidden Hills, Calabasas, Tarzana, Encino, Sherman Oaks, Canoga Park, and Northridge.

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