The Difference Between Cyber-bullying and “kids being Kids”

Common Sense Media parenting expert Caroline Knorr answers questions about parenting, media, and everything in between.

Q: When does “kids being kids” turn into cyberbullying?

A: Kids like to go online and use cell phones to email, chat, watch videos, send messages, play games, and do homework. But sometimes the language they use with each other can get mean or rude. It’s important for kids to appreciate that their words can cause unintentional harm, whether used online or in person.

And that’s really the difference between “kids being kids” and cyberbullying: intention. Sometimes meanness is accidental, but, when people use digital tools such as the Internet or text messages to deliberately upset someone else over and over, that’s cyberbullying.

No matter what, if someone says or does something that makes your kid feel bad, he or she should tell a trusted adult. If your kid hurts a friend, he or she should apologize.

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