With the advancement of technology and rapid growth in the digital era, many children are given access to smartphones and other devices at a very early age. Many children are bound to their mobile phones and spend most of their time surfing digital goods.
The digital era has many positives, including online education, skills learning, art, increased creativity among children, awareness, and so on. However, every coin has two sides. Due to the growth of digitization, there is an increase in potential threats and casualties like cyberbullying. So, it is a duty to protect your kid from cyberbullying and harassment.
Research and report suggest children below the grade of 5 are more likely to be victims of cyberbullying due to early access to digital goods. Almost 40% of students suffer from online bullying between the age of 12 and 17. And nearly 60% of them have kept it a secret from their parents.
Due to the increase in usage of digital devices, cyberbullying is a growing concern in the current generation. Make sure to check out and monitor your children’s both online and external activities. This blog post will help out to find warning signs of cyberbullying along with its solution for the parents concerned about their children’s safety and future.
What is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is bullying that occurs over devices, including mobile phones, PCs, or tablets. Cyberbullying is known as online bullying. Even though bullying victims is a huge concern in society, it has become increasingly common, especially among youngsters and teenagers.
Girls and LGBTQ+ children face online bullying more often than average people. In cyberbullying cases, people share, comment, post and send sharing, commenting, posting, negative, harmful, false, or mean photos and other content about victims to offend them and make them feel worthless.
Cyberbullying causes extreme embarrassment or humiliation and can cross the limit into a lawful offense or crime.
These are the common platforms where cyberbullying and online harassment takes place,
- Social Media sites including Facebook, Instagram, and YouTube
- Text messaging and messaging apps on gadgets
- Instant messaging over the internet
- Online forums and Chat rooms such as Reddit and Clubhouse
- Online games and online gaming communities, including Discord and Steam
Signs of Cyberbullying
A parent should know Children’s activities and behaviors. Digital devices are becoming their main commodity. Many children explore and share their experiences online, making them easy targets for bullies.
Children spend most of their time browsing the internet, using social media, playing games, and exploring other online platforms. If your child is facing the following problems please try to resolve the issues quickly,
Declines going to school or outside
It can be a major sign of cyberbullying if your children are nervous, scared, and uneasy at school or outside. Your children are uncomfortable around school surroundings and schoolmates.
Your child will often make excuses about school, ask you to pick them up early from school, and pretend to be ill.
The child becomes a loner
Children often isolate themselves from their close ones and have low self-esteem. They tend to be anti-social and do not interact with friends or family like they used to. They avoid social gatherings, birthday parties, and other events.
Cyberbullying victims often keep all things to themselves, and they don’t enjoy being in groups and take measures to isolate themselves. If your children aren’t socially interactive and outgoing, this is a sign of cyberbullying and obvious change.
Loses interest in favorite hobbies and activities
Losing the internet on favorite sports or hobbies can indicate cyberbullying, and they suddenly lose interest in the hobbies and activities that matter most. Victims often avoid their favorite activities to distance themselves from bullying and humiliation.
It would be better to have an open conversation with your child and continue encouraging them to do activities that make them happy.
Having health problems
Children are often seen as distressed, have depression, and anxiety, and face health issues after cyberbullying. Children are impacted not only mentally but physically. Children have trouble eating, have stomachs and have headaches.
Children’s physical appearance also changes over time, and they tend to lose or gain weight in a short time. If this behavior does not stop, parents need to be more aware as it may have a long-term effect on children’s growth. Children often lash out due to aggressiveness, even if they are not of that nature.
Nervous when using a digital device
If your child becomes extremely nervous about their phone, tablet, or laptop, especially when you are near the child, it can be a warning sign of cyber bullies.
Keeping devices in commonly used spaces like living rooms can be helpful to keep an eye on and monitor your children.
Upset, depressed, and frustrated after going online
Cyberbullying can be a reason if your children have sudden mood swings and are angry after using social media and gaming online.
Children slam their devices and shut down machines in mid-use. Increased frustration among children can be a red flag for you and your children, and they often do it to avoid cyberbullying on online platforms.
Children do not discuss and share information about their online accounts and activities
When children are bullied online, they usually keep their activities secretive. They don’t disclose and share information with family and friends and are highly concerned about their privacy in social and online life.
Children will try to hide the things they are going through to keep them away from their parents since many victims are afraid to speak out, especially to their parents. Having accounts and passwords for social media and other platforms can give a brief idea of what your children are going through.
Difficulty sleeping at night
Trouble sleeping and lack of rest can be negative factors regarding cyberbullying. Children cannot sleep because they are agonized by thoughts of bullies and humiliation.
The distress can then harm the child throughout the rest of the day, including school hours and family time. The higher fatigue makes children sick, directly impacting their education and health.
Suicidal thoughts, Suicidal attempts, and Self hurt
These life-ending signs should not be taken lightly. Children often pass suicidal thoughts and self-harm due to extreme bullies, harassment, and humiliation after being victims of bullying and cyberbullying.
Try to consult professionals and school management about the case. Make sure your actions are helpful for your children. Cyberbullying increases the thought of suicide among victims to 15%, which is staggering.
Distant themselves from close friends and family members
Withdrawing from the close ones is a possible sign of cyberbullying. When children become a victim of cyberbullying, they push away close friends and family members, especially those involved in bullying.
Children even change their group of friends and avoid family members completely. Confront them that you are always there to protect them and ask if they need any help.
How to Prevent Cyberbullying?
Here are a few ways you can protect your children from cyberbullying,
- Try to figure out whom children talk to on social media accounts or other platforms
- Blocking vulnerable apps and software
- Educate and aware your children about online safety
- Be mindful of the time your child is spending online
- Seek communication with your child more often
- Monitor children’s behavior and activities
- Teach them to think before posting on social media platforms
- Refuse to respond to cyberbullies
- Blocking vulnerable apps and software
It is extremely difficult to recognize the signs of cyberbullying for a parent. However, noticing the warning signs could hint at what your children are going through. Please resolve the problem asap and don’t minimize or ignore it.
Due to the increase in cyberbullying cases, a parent should be able to educate about online safety, have emotional intelligence and ensure prevention methods for their child. Additionally, I believe this blog post helped you know more about cyberbullying, gave you certain ideas to tackle cyberbullying, and will help your children be safe online.