CYBERBULLYING: LEARN ABOUT THE FACTS, SIGNS, AND HOW TO START A CONVERSATION WITH YOUR CHILD

Cyberbullying can be a challenging topic to talk about, but it doesn’t have to be. When children become involved with cyberbullies, they want help, but may be afraid to ask, or might feel shame or guilt. This guide will help you identify the signs of cyberbullying, and learn how to start the conversation with your child when the time is right. #RaiseOurVoices

Bullying victims today face threats beyond physical violence or face-to-face encounters. These days, bullying has evolved and spread across every corner of the digital world. Each year, cyberbullying becomes a larger force.

Cyberbullying occurs when a bully targets a victim using electronic communication. The bully may be a friend of your child, but as many platforms don’t require identity verification, bullies are often able to harass their victims anonymously. If your children use devices, websites or social media networks, there is a possibility they could be, or have already been exposed to cyberbullying.

Harassment in the digital world extends across multiple channels. Bullies have learned to use the entire scope of the Internet to do far more damage than is possible in face-to-face encounters. A few examples:

  • Once cyberbullies get hold of a victim’s email, they can engage in email attacks.
  • Cyberbullies engage in “text wars” by recruiting a group with the purpose of spamming a victim’s phone with hundreds of harassing messages.
  • Utilizing the fact that blogging websites are both public and widely shared, cyberbullies can directly call out their victim by tagging them in a blog or blog comment.
  • Cyberbullies attack their victims on social media by publically posting or privately sending harassing messages.
     

One of the most dangerous things about cyberbullying is that it doesn’t stop when your child leaves school. As long as your child is connected to their device, a bully can connect to them. If you think your children are being cyberbullied look for these subtle signs. If you notice any, it may be time to have a conversation about cyberbullying. You can make sure there is no personal information about them online by performing a quick Google search of their name.

  • They appear nervous when receiving a text/online message or email.
  • Habits with devices change. They may begin avoiding their devices or using them excessively.
  • They make excuses to avoid going to school.
  • They become defensive or secretive about online activity.
  • They withdraw from friends and family.
  • They have physical symptoms such as trouble sleeping, stomach aches, headaches, and weight loss or gain.
  • They begin falling behind in school or acting out.
  • Their grades start declining.
  • They appear especially angry, frustrated or sad, particularly after going online/checking devices.
  • They delete social media or email accounts.

Over a third of the victims in the UK (37%) have never told their parents/guardians that they have been cyberbullied.* There are many reasons for the silence, with the most common being a fear of losing access to devices and the Internet. Others worry that their parents will overreact by contacting the bully’s parents or the school. Some don’t realise how common cyberbullying is, and believe the abuse is their fault.

If you see any sign of your child’s involvement in cyberbullying, the first step is communicating.

Cyberbullying is a sensitive subject and starting a conversation can be difficult. Read our free guide on cyberbullying for tips that can help guide your dialogue and make an open discussion easier for both you and your child.

 

 

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