DETROIT, April 21, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — In today’s world of technology, many youth experience the negative consequences of increased connectivity and socialization in the form of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying differs from traditional bullying in several ways, and as a result, Meridian wants to educate adults and youth across Michigan about the risks of cyberbullying and how it impacts overall health.
Cyberbullying is harassment that takes place over digital devices, social media platforms, and gaming experiences. According to the Pew Research Center, 59% of U.S. teens have been bullied or harassed online. Unlike traditional bullying, cyberbullying can take place 24 hours a day and includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, sharing personal information to humiliate, excluding someone on purpose, and more.
“The pervasiveness of technology has created new avenues for bullying, making it more difficult for our youth to escape its harmful effects,” said Dr. Kay Judge, Meridian’s Chief Medical Officer. “Cyberbullying can be uncharted territory for parents and caregivers from past generations, so Meridian wants to help raise awareness to help adults and youth recognize negative behavior and provide support.”
Cyberbullying can lead to social and emotional distress, behavioral problems, and mental health issues. Additionally, youth who are bullied are at increased risk for substance misuse, academic problems, and violence to others. These effects on the mental wellbeing of youth can translate into physical health challenges later in life, extending the impact of cyberbullying long after it stops. The U.S. Surgeon General recently issued an advisory stating the youth mental health crisis has been further exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
To further spread awareness, Meridian is encouraging youth in Michigan to take action to promote prevention with their peers and community by participating in the Centene Institute Youth Impact Award for Cyberbullying Prevention. As part of the Centene family, Meridian invites youth ages 14-19 to watch a short video and read a fact sheet on cyberbullying before submitting their own original visual art entry that conveys cyberbullying awareness and prevention. The contest is open to eligible youth nationwide. All submissions are eligible to account for up to 10 hours of community service. The contest is now open and runs until May 20, 2022.
Below are some tips from the CDC, American Academy of Pediatrics and the Department of Health and Human Services to raise awareness and prevent cyberbullying that can inspire contest entries as well as be used to handle situations in everyday life:
- Talk about bullying to reduce stigma and identify potential instances of cyberbullying
- Plan for what to do if witnessing or experiencing bullying
- Teach youth to treat others respect and practice inclusivity
- Create positive community environments that build confidence and social skills
- If bullied, immediately stop communication and block the person via digital channels
- Speak up if you feel uncomfortable with the comments or actions of someone
- Understand the possible warning signs of emotional distress
For more information about the Youth Impact Award and how to enter, visit https://www.centeneinstituteaward.com/cyberbullying-prevention/2022. For more information on Meridian and its activities, visit mimeridian.com.
Meridian of Michigan is a provider of government-sponsored managed care services. We offer Medicaid and Medicare-Medicaid managed care plans to people in Michigan. Meridian is a wholly owned subsidiary of Centene Corp. (NYSE: CNC), a Fortune 25 company providing health coverage to more than 26 million Americans. For more information, visit mimeridian.com.
SOURCE Meridian of Michigan