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Webinar set to address growing threat of cyberbullying

Feb. 3, 2021, 2:48 PM


(iStock image)

by Jessica Pasley

More children than ever are using digital devices to access the internet.

In fact, 95% of teens in the U.S. are online, according to Danielle McDonough, LCSW, at Vanderbilt Health Affiliated Network (VHAN).

It is this increase in children’s online activity during the COVID-19 pandemic that sparked the decision to host a free webinar on cyberbullying and internet safety on Thursday, Feb. 11, from noon to 1 p.m. McDonough will serve as the webinar moderator.

“With the prevalence of smartphones, our youth can access the internet from just about anywhere and at any time,” said McDonough. “Studies show that on average, teens are online almost nine hours a day, not including time for homework.”

McDonough shared the following statistics:

  • 59% of U.S. teens have been bullied or harassed online.
  • 90% of youth believe online harassment is a problem that affects people their age.

“As our youth spend more of their time online, especially because of the restrictions of COVID-19, the opportunities for positive and negative interactions with peers, adults and strangers increase,” she said. “It’s important to teach youth and their caregivers about what cyberbullying is, what its impacts are and how it can be prevented.

“While children are engaging in remote learning, most parents are still working, which decreases their capacity to monitor online use.”

The session is geared toward parents, families, teachers, and pediatricians.

Webinar topics include internet safety risks, including cyberbullying, predatory grooming and sexting; how cyber safety can impact children and adolescents’ mental health; rules to follow and tools to support parents; how to engage your child in a cyber safety discussion and when and where to report inappropriate content and concerns.

“Families are facing the difficult task of protecting their children from the emotional distress caused by online bullying and harassment,” said McDonough. “Parents in this generation did not grow up with such quick access to the internet. How we were parented looks very different from how to parent these days. This is new.”

Participants can register at

Attendees will be able to participate in a live Q&A session with experts at the end of the webinar as well as send questions prior to the webinar at A recording of the presentation will be made available after the conclusion of the event.

VHAN is a physician-led, statewide clinically integrated network made up of more than 6,000 clinicians, 70 hospitals, 13 health systems and hundreds of physician practices and clinics to help deliver high-quality, lower-cost care to patients.

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