Is your child being cyberbullied? Before you say no, it’s important to understand cyberbullying and how to learn if your child is a victim.
How To Know If Your Child Is Being Cyberbullied
According to Cyberbully.org, cyberbullying is any form of online harassment “that is persistent and used to make someone feel helpless and insignificant.” Make no mistake as cyberbullying is just as dangerous as bullying done in person. In fact, it can even be more harmful because it can go on 24 hours a day.
If your teen or tween is affected, it’s highly likely that they won’t discuss this issue with you voluntarily. So how can you know if he or she is being cyberbullied? According to NBC News, there are some warnings signs you can look for, such as:
- Your child spends a lot more or a lot less time than usual online.
- When your child steps away from social, he or she is upset, withdrawn, or angry.
- He or she suddenly avoids social situations.
Read these 11 possible signs of cyberbullying from parenting expert Dr. Michele Borba.
Peer Pressure In Social Media
Besides the dangers, bullying on social media can also lead to peer pressure to try risky behaviors. According to a recent study, 75 percent of kids in the study felt compelled to drink alcohol or take drugs after watching their friends do those things online. Your children can also be led into cyberbullying themselves. Even if your child is not a victim, he could feel forced to participate in online bullying.
Take steps to help your child if you suspect he has participated in cyberbullying someone else. After all, it can lead to criminal charges if it’s not stopped. Read what to do next at Laptop.com.
How You Can Help Your Child
What can you do if your child is a victim of cyberbullying? There’s no one strategy but pulling together in a group effort, your family can help him overcome his negative feelings.
- Even if your child doesn’t talk about it, you need to really listen to his thoughts and feelings. As quoted on Connect Safely, remember that “just by being heard respectfully, a child is often well on the way to healing.”
- Spend less time online as a family. Social media can pull us away from doing activities together so make family outings a priority. Hiking, movies, bowling, sports, and other activities can help to keep your children – and you – off the devices.
Using Technology To Help
There are some ways you can use technology to diffuse the situation. Here are some tips:
- If your child is young, exercise your authority and choose carefully who your children follow. Set up rules for them so you can approve their list. However, be respectful and give your child some privacy especially if he is older. Use this checklist for controlling devices and Wi-Fi at Cyber Security Community.
- Encourage your child to connect with positive people, especially if they are celebrities or social media who appeal to your child’s age group.
- This post from Blogging.com recommends that you do not overreact or reply to the cyberbullies. Instead, block them from any online interaction with your child. Meanwhile, document incidents with screenshots and report them if appropriate. Be sure to talk to your child before contacting the school or their parents.
If you need more information, read the Comprehensive Cyberbullying Guide for Parents from WizCase.
Cyberbullying is a serious problem that can hurt your child. Educate yourself on how to protect him and keep the lines of communication open with him.
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