It turns out that the key to combatting cyberbullying is… resilience. That was the major finding of a recent nationally-representative survey of 1,200 teens, conducted by Dr. Sameer Hinduja, cyberbullying expert and professor at the FAU School of Criminology and Criminal Justice.
“Everything hinges on the messages we tell ourselves and the beliefs we internalize about the adversity we face,” Hinduja said.
According to his research, victims of cyberbullying who lack resilience tend to act out in concerning ways.
“Whether it’s self-harm, interpersonal harm, violence, or deliquency,” Hinduja said.
On the other side of the coin, victims who possess resilience tend to find the courage to either block or report the cyberbully on their social media channels. The bullying also tends to not wound the victim as deeply when resilience is present.
“[The more resilient kids] didn’t really internalize the harm, and it didn’t really markedly affect their ability to learn and feel safe in school,” Hinduja said. “Parents, mentors, and other youth-serving adults must remember that we are ill-preparing adolescents for adulthood if we are always swooping in rescuing them from every social and relational struggle they face.”
“Hopefully, we can provide them a safe, supportive environment in which to learn, experiment, and develop a toolbox of skills to help them deal with haters, trolls, and anyone else who wants to tear them down – which is inevitable as they achieve success in their lives.”