Digital Drama

 “Cyberbullying is just one slice of the digital experience that adolescents grapple with…So the question becomes: how can we support students in managing every type of digital stress?” (Walsh, 2015)


Though the media and public have focused on hostile actions causing digital stress such as cyberbullying, research has discovered that adolescents also experience stress from digital drama (“Study Identifies Digital Stressors in Youth Experiences Online,” 2014).

What is digital drama?

Walsh (2015) noted that digital drama could be:

  • feeling smothered by someone’s digital communication;
  • breaking and entering into accounts or phones; and
  • feeling pressure to comply with requests for intimate photos or access to accounts.

How do we support children in dealing with digital drama?

Walsh (2015) suggests:

  • Offer an empathetic ear, and try not to be dismissive.
  • Convey interest in understanding the breadth of socio-digital challenges teens experience, and be a partner as they navigate these challenges.
  • Realize that although young people are operating in a new digital context, many of the skills they need aren’t new. Learning how to align their behavior with their values, identifying their individual needs, and developing the confidence to communicate effectively with others — these are the evergreen challenges of adolescence.

Additional Resources:

Family Tip Sheet: Dealing with Digital Drama

Common Sense Media: Activity for Discussion of Digital Drama

Common Sense Media: Connection Conversation on Digital Drama

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