Author: Lea Zweig, Psy.D. and Alexa Rabin, Psy.D.

Topic in Child Psychology: BullyingIn recent times, the topic of bullying has become a popular discussion amongst parents, teachers, and psychologists. With the introduction of social media in the early twenty first century, a new type of bullying, cyber bullying, has emerged. The current statistics about the spread of bullying are increasingly worrisome. According to The National Center for Educational Statistics (, in 2014, 1 out of 3 students reported being bullied at some point. Research conducted at Yale University concluded that bully victims are 7 to 9 percent more likely to consider suicide. Additionally, the Center for Disease Control reported that suicide is the second leading cause of death for people 10 to 34 years old.

For parents, there are many ways to educate yourself and your children about bullying. Netflix recently aired some movies that address the issue of bullying at school. One recommended film for you and your teen is A Girl Like Her. This movie depicts a 16-year-old girl bullying a peer at school. The victim confided in her best friend, who set up hidden cameras, which depicted the bullying behaviors as they unfolded.  The movie also portrays the perspective of the bully, which helps shed some light on the types of emotions, issues, and triggers that can lead a person to bully.

Another recommended movie called Cyberbully focuses on a teenage girl who is bullied over the Internet. Today, many young adults center their lives and interactions around social media, which makes cyberbullying and Internet interactions an important topic of conversation. It is hard to keep up with everything happening for your child on social media. It is important to set up rules and boundaries regarding your child’s use of the Internet and social media to promote appropriate online and real life interactions.

These are just two examples of movies that have recently released and address the topic of bullying, but there are many more examples to choose from if these do not feel like the best fit for your child. If you choose to watch one of these recommended films (or any other, for that matter) with your child, it is highly encouraged that you use these films as a launching pad for a discussion with your child, specifically about your child’s individual experiences, the effects of cyberbullying in their lives, and appropriate vs. inappropriate use of social media. You may also inquire about how your child felt about the bully, the victim, and other characters in the films. You might ask your child’s opinion about how they would handle such a situation.

If you want to ask questions, or learn about how to talk to your child about this increasingly salient issue of bullying and cyberbullying, please contact a child psychologist. A child psychologist can also provide your child with coping skills to manage bullying, to assert him or herself when faced with bullying, and to feel empowered to make healthy and safe choices when they are faced with bully behavior.

Resources: Bullying Suicide Statistics

Yale News: Bullying-Suicide Link Explored in New Study by Researchers at Yale