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Could Your Child Be Getting Cyber-Bullied?

Updated: Nov 30, 2020

Young boy with "Stop Bullying" written on his hands

Recently, online harassment has increased with drastic concerns in relation to how it can affect a person’s mental health. Hate speech, name-calling, and cyber-bullying are now burgeoning not only to the adult population but to children as well.

Research has discovered that 1 in 3 parents around the world report that their child “is” or “was” a victim of cyberbullying. Whether it be via social media, school, or unnoticeably in your own community, learning the common signs listed below can help identify if your child is getting cyber-bullied and what you can do to help.

Feeling Scared or Anxious to Go to School or Outside

Sad teenage girl being laughed at by two teens behind her

One of the major ways to pinpoint cyberbullying is to monitor if a child is constantly absent from school or frequently making excuses to miss. Although concerns of sickness are nothing to take lightly, it is wise to listen to your child’s symptoms; therefore, analyzing if their troubles are due to physical pathogens or emotional fears. Feelings of uneasiness with the people or school environments are critical identifiers that something may be wrong.

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Texting or Navigating Social Media Nervously

Teenage girl sitting at kitchen table very stressed while looking at tablet

If parents see children become extremely nervous or anxious when using electronic devices, it is best to observe closely. One-way parents can deal with this is to make rules about online accounts and passwords. This helps to give peace of mind and act as a cyberbullying preventive measure for children, especially young ones. Hidden fears may be detected in which a conversation about the pros and cons of social media needs to be initiated.

Not Sharing Information about Online Activities

Young girl staring at laptop screen in the dark seeming stressed

When a child suddenly becomes increasingly secretive, a red flag should arise. Although this could be a simple desire for privacy and independence, it is also a tell-tale sign of cyberbullying. Because many online bullying victims are scared to openly discuss their feelings, especially to their parents, they may try hard to hide them. Encouraging them to share their feelings of frustration is essential while providing education on adequate coping skills and methods to prevent further anguish and stressors. The absolute best approach is to open an honest line of communication with a call-to-action plan being established by both the parent and the child.

Experiencing Sudden Weight Gain or Loss, Eating Troubles, Stomachaches, and Headaches

Young overweight girl looking stressed behind bags of chips

Body shaming has become a leading vexation in modern society; And as detrimentally as it remains, kids are not exempt. Body shaming is a form of cyberbullying that can do serious physical damage to children since it affects not only their mental health but their physical health as well. Parents should be mindful of this easily overlooked sign, as it is common to misinterpret it for puberty and can worsen quickly if not recognized or prevented on time.

Feeling Sleepy in the Day and Having Difficulty Sleeping at Night

Young girl sleeping on bench in a park

Becoming restless is a big factor in online bullying. Children who are bullied may have difficulty sleeping because of the anguish they feel from what the bullies are saying to or about them on the Internet. Stress is not uncommon, nor are poor grades and inability to concentrate or maintain focus. School and extra-curricular performances/ activities can be affected being that fatigue can last an entire day. Try promoting meditation and exercise sessions with your child. And as with all other signs, communication is always the key factor.

Withdrawing Oneself from Loved Ones and Close Friends

Young boy sitting on school steps while being laughed at from kids behind him

From time to time, parents can give reassurance to their children by telling them that they can talk to them about anything, and they will always be there no matter what.

Talking about Suicide

Woman with HEL P written on her left hand while hiding her face with her right hand

This is a huge red flag that parents should take action immediately! Disengagement in normal activities may be a way for victims to push themselves away, not only from the bullies but from everyone in their life. Consulting a professional or letting is mandatory while being sure to also make school personnel aware of your child’s current state.

Talking about or admitting to cyberbullying can be very frightening for children. Although some children may likely oppose, it is critical for parents to help them understand the desire to help. Knowing if your child is a victim of online harassment isn’t always as clear as one would like; nevertheless, what is most important is to observe carefully and let them know that they are not alone.

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