4 Activities That Put Kids at Risk for Cyberbullying

Learn what leads to cyberbullying and why


When it comes to cyberbullying, sometimes kids are targeted for no apparent reason. Other times, there are activities or certain attributes that attract the attention of cyberbullies and open kids up for online bullying. This does not mean that cyberbullying is ever acceptable. But, if you talk with your teen about the things that can make cyberbullying more likely, you might be able to prevent online bullying in your child’s life.

Here is a closer look at the top four things that put kids at risk for cyberbullying.


Sexting is an activity that should be discouraged regardless of the risk associated with cyberbullying. Not only is it against the law to disseminate nude pictures of underage teens – even when the teen takes the pictures herself – but it also opens the teen up to all kinds of risks.

Aside from the risk for sexual assault, stalking, and public shaming, the teen also could become the target of cyberbullying. There are countless news stories about teens who participated in sexting with a partner only later to have those pictures shared with countless others.

For instance, Jessica Logan, a Cincinnati, Ohio teen took her life after her boyfriend shared a nude photo of her that she had meant for his eyes only. In the end, the photo was sent to hundreds of teenagers in seven Greater Cincinnati high schools.

She was constantly bombarded with mean and hateful messages including being called a whore, a slut, and a porn queen. In the end, it was just too much for her to handle.


Although there is nothing wrong with posting a selfie or two on Instagram or Facebook, teens need to be cautious about posting too many selfies.

Additionally, they need to cognizant of what the selfie reveals about them.

Teens should think about how they are dressed, whom they are with and what they are doing before they post. Every aspect of a picture communicates a message about who they are. Additionally, young teens should avoid posting selfies that give viewers personal information like what school they attend, what activities they participate in and where they live.

Even selfies that are meant to be funny can be taken the wrong way. Take Lindsey Stone for instance. She and her friend had a running joke of taking stupid photographs. They might pretend to smoke in front of a no-smoking sign or pose in front of statues, mimicking the pose. But when Stone allowed her friend to photograph her being disrespectul in front of the sign “Silence and Respect” at Arlington National Cemetary, she did not anticipate the response she might get.

As a result of that one photo posted to Facebook with her permission, Stone quickly became the target of public shaming.

She was criticized and threatened. She lost her job and she didn’t leave her house much after that. And all it took to dismantle her life was one poor decision with a selfie.


When kids share their full birthdays, addresses, phone numbers and their current locations, this is called oversharing and it puts them at risk for cyberbullying. It also exposes them to the risk of identity theft and can lead to physical harm at the hands of someone armed with the information.

Additionally, when teens share unfiltered thoughts or feelings or if they lash out when they are upset, this also can open them up to cyberbullying. It is very easy for online bullies to take a screen shot of your teen’s posts and use them as ammunition to bully your child online.

As a result, be sure you are talking with your teens about the risks of oversharing online. Encourage them to think about what they are posting. And be sure your teen understands the risk of posting or tweeting when they are upset and not thinking clearly. A good rule of thumb is to encourage your teens to avoid social media until they have calmed down.


While there is nothing wrong with being popular, there are times when it can be a burden to teens. For instance, for mean girls and relational bullies, social status is a big deal. As a result, your child’s popularity may cause others to lash out at her out of envy and jealousy.

Be sure your teen is aware of the risks that come with being popular and climbing the social ladder. And be sure to talk with her about the responsibilities that come with being liked by the majority of her peers. She can use this popularity to be a leader in her school, or she can use it for selfish gain.

If your child resorts to peer pressure, belongs to a clique or engages in bullying, then being popular can make her a likely target for cyberbullying. Many times, teens who cyberbully popular students feel justified in doing so. They feel they deserve it.

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