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Is there a link between teen suicide and cyberbullying?

I'm the Parenting Editor at Common Sense Media, and I started blogging to help families navigate the complex world of media and technology in kids' lives. I'm a family-technology expert who specializes in approaching media literacy is...

How parents can know if bullying is affecting their kids

October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Do you know how to recognize and prevent cyberbullying?

Several teen suicides have been linked to cyberbullying, but the reality may be more complicated. According to a report from the American Academy of Pediatrics, cyberbullying is rarely the sole factor contributing to suicide. In cases where suicide is linked with cyberbullying, other factors exist, such as offline bullying and mental health issues, such as depression.

Bullying has negative repercussions, especially for kids who are struggling with a variety of issues. Unfortunately, both online and offline bullying is pretty prevalent, though suicide attempts are fairly rare. Certain types of social media — such as question sites that allow kids to pose questions anonymously — seem to attract destructive behavior.

What should you do if you're concerned about your child?

  • Look for warning signs. Take note of your child's attitudes, behaviors and moods.
  • The tween and teen years can be rocky, so you might have to probe a little to determine whether something more serious is going on.
  • Talk to your kid about her social media experiences, help her set limits on how much time she spends online and who her online friends are and get her involved in offline activities. Steer her away from sites that aren't positive and productive.
  • The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline offers comprehensive information and counseling.

Find age-specific guidelines, videos and articles to help with tough conversations at Common Sense Media's cyberbullying content hub.

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