Cyberbullying has been a problem for many years, but now it is taking on new dimensions with the rise of Artificial Intelligence (AI). AI-powered cyberbullying is becoming more prevalent, and it is causing more concern among parents. Love and Logic’s approach to cyberbullying can still be helpful even when AI is involved. Here is an example of a young girl’s struggle with cyberbullying.
A few years ago, a mother told me about a cyberbullying episode that involved her daughter, whom we will call Mandy, and described how she helped her daughter. It was a clear case of cyberbullying. Mandy had been singled out by a group of kids who were systematically rejecting her and destroying her sense of belonging. Mandy’s computer was filled with the most horrible accusations imaginable about how she looked, dressed, and acted. What Mandy’s mom saw when she looked at Mandy’s computer was enough to make any parent sick.
Mom hugged Mandy and said empathetically, “Oh, Mandy. That must hurt so bad. Who is doing this and why do they do things like that?” Mandy cried, “I don’t know who it is, Mom. But I think it’s some of the popular kids who are mean to kids not in their group.” Mom replied, “What’s happening to you is called cyberbullying. We need to all talk about this and get you some help. I bet there’s a lot of information on the Internet.”
Mandy and her mom found lots of information on the web, and Mandy started to discover that kids who do this are usually insecure, cowardly, and have a lot of personal problems. They also learned that there were steps that they could take to help Mandy.
Armed with information from some web sites, she and her parents met with the school officials and, as a result, filed information with the police who showed them how to save every email and phone message as evidence. This evidence helped them track down the culprits. Even with this, Mandy was fearful, frequently complaining, “But what if it happens again? I couldn’t eat, or sleep, or face anybody at school!”
Mom reflected on what they had learned by saying, “Now that you know that the kids who do this are hurting and emotionally weak, you can create a new vision that will protect you each time something like this happens.” Then she said, “Remember we learned that bullies thrive on getting a reaction, so you can ignore them. To help you ignore them, you need a mantra that reminds you that these are kids who only know how to build themselves up by tearing someone else down.”
This wise mom taught Mandy a mantra, “Uh, oh. Another sick and sorry kid. I don’t need to respond.” They practiced this over and over until Mandy could blurt it out with conviction. A month later Mandy came to her mother saying, “My friend Jill is getting victimized by cyberbullying. I taught her how to use my favorite mantra. Now we both say it and she’s doing okay. It’s sad that some kids feel so bad about themselves that they’d do stuff like that.”
If your child is the victim of cyberbullying, you might benefit from watching a replay of our last free virtual event, When Your Child Is Teased or Bullied.
Thanks for reading!