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Is There a Connection Between Cyberbullying and Suicide?

Text: Q&A

Some teen suicides have been linked to cyberbullying, but the reality is more complicated. Cyberbullying is rarely the sole factor contributing to suicide. However, bullying can contribute to suicidal behavior. In cases where suicide is linked to cyberbullying, other factors exist, such as offline bullying and mental health issues like depression.

Bullying in general has negative effects, especially for kids who are already struggling. And, unfortunately, both online and offline bullying are pretty common, though suicide attempts are fairly rare.

What should you do if you're concerned about your kid? Look for warning signs. Take note of your child's attitudes, behaviors, and moods, especially after they spend time on devices. The pre-teen and teen years can be rocky. Probe a little to determine whether something more serious is going on. Talk with your kid about their social media habits. Set limits on how much time they spend online, and find out who their online friends are. Help them balance their time online with other activities like exercise and connecting with family and friends. Steer them away from apps and sites that aren't positive or productive. Try digital tools to help your kid find support and set positive mental health habits.

For more help, the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline offers information and counseling. Kids can text "HOME" to 741741 for support from trained crisis counselors at the Crisis Text Line. Young people of color can text "STEVE" to 741741 to reach culturally trained counselors.

The Child Mind Institute contributed to this article. Learn more at childmind.org.

Catherine Beck also contributed to this article.

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