This afternoon, Voices for Children Policy Associate Jenna Sutton submitted a letter of support for LB 572, which tasks the state school security director with recommending a curriculum to assist school districts in preventing and responding to cyberbullying and digital citizenship issues.
The internet has become an increasingly integral part of young peoples’ lives. Children and teens are spending more time on the internet than ever before, most often using social media websites for social interaction. Unfortunately, this leads to a growing issue with cyberbullying. According to the Cyberbullying Research Center, 2.2 million U.S. students reported being harassed or threatened online in 2011 compared to the 1.5 million students in 2009.
The effects of cyberbullying can be severe and long-lasting. Both victims and perpetrators of cyberbullying are at a much greater risk for depression, anxiety, stress-related disorders, including those that affect sleep or eating habits, suicidal behaviors, and dropping out of school.
After reviewing all available published research, the Cyberbullying Research Center concluded that 1 out of every 4 middle school and high school students has experienced cyberbullying and 1 in 6 students has been a perpetrator. As an issue that affects so many children regardless of gender or socioeconomic status, it is important that these kids learn what cyberbullying looks like, how to prevent it, how to respond in situations when it occurs, and how to cope in order to minimize its negative impact.
 Cyberbullying Research Center (2015) Cyberbullying Facts