Is your child being cyberbullied?

Is your child being cyberbullied?

11 December 2020

As COVID19 progresses around the world, all people need to continue practicing social distancing. The best way to keep in touch with your friends is through texting, social media, or video chats. The time people spent online has drastically increased during this global pandemic. This ongoing situation also led to an increase in cyberbullying.Even though there isn’t precise data that can answer this question, it wouldn’t be surprising if parents notice some signs of conflict as months go by. We have to accept the fact that cyberbullying can take a serious toll on its victims, especially on children because they are more likely to hold onto big emotions.It’s been discovered that many children turn to social media in order to get through this crisis, but one in four of them feels more lonely than usual. Unfortunately, this year celebrations such as proms and graduations have been canceled, which contributed to children feeling sad, angry, and anxious. Since children spend most of their time online connecting with peers, their feelings can easily turn into a form of aggressive behavior.

So, how can you notice that your child is being cyberbullied?

Unfortunately, children are often scared or too embarrassed to admit they are bullied. They are usually ashamed to admit they’ve been targeted in the first place. Because some of them believe that telling an adult will only make the bullying even worse, you should help your children be aware of the digital world and the people they connect with.

As bullying continues to evolve along with online culture, children’s ways of cyberbullying are evolving as well. We compiled a list of things that children do when bullying each other:

  • Saying mean things through social media or email
  • Making negative comments about someone’s appearance, sexuality, or race
  • Spreading false information about a person online
  • Revealing private information
  • Threatening another person on social media
  • Sharing embarrassing pictures of other people online
  • Creating fake profiles for someone else and posting inappropriate content
  • Stealing a child’s identity and catfish other people

Even if you can’t notice that your child is being cyberbullied, there are some signs to look out for. For instance, if a child gets upset after receiving a text or has trouble sleeping at night, it usually means that the child is being bullied. What other signs indicate that a child is bullied online?

  • Getting nauseous more often
  • Being moody all the time
  • Deactivating social media profiles for no reason
  • Avoid hanging out with family and friends
  • Loss of interest in hobbies and interests
  • Getting upset when checking the phone, computer, or tablet

The signs mentioned above are the most common signs to look out for. However, if severe cyberbullying is taking place, your child might feel lonely, hopeless, and even think about suicide.

Do’s and don’ts

Now that you are aware that your child is being cyberbullied, there are some things that you should not do. For instance, never blame your child for being bullied or tell him/her to ignore the bullying. This is one of the worst advice you can give to a child that is cyberbullied. Another thing you should avoid doing is taking away your child’s digital devices. You should be aware that it’s not your child’s fault for being cyberbullied. As soon as you understand this, the better.
Despite feeling angry and wanting to take control of the situation, parents shouldn’t advise their children to fight back physically. Violence is never the answer.

So, how can you help your child?

The first thing you should do is to try to identify the bully, then talk to his parents. If that doesn’t help, you can always complain to the school counselor who can help resolve the problem. During this awful time, it’s very important to offer comfort and support to your child. This will definitely help your child feel less alone. Also, make sure to block the bully on social media so he/she can’t contact your child anymore.

What can you do to protect your children?

In order to understand your children’s digital life, you should learn about their favorite online platforms and monitor their activities. If you notice concerning comments, you should immediately talk to your child and ask how you can help. Unfortunately, there are apps like WhatsApp which can be anonymously used, so make sure your child avoids them. It’s essential to talk to your child and share your concerns in these situations.
If your child likes to play games online, you better monitor those gaming communities. Usually, when games are competitive, the higher the chances of cyberbullying can happen. Instead of forbidding your child to play games online, we recommend spending time with your child while he or she is gaming.
Even though allowing more screen time doesn’t mean that cyberbullying will definitely happen. However, it definitely increases the possibility of a digital conflict.

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