Cyberbullying is becoming one of the major social issues in this techno-era. Students are also the victims by getting cyberbullied or becoming a cyberbully.
The innocence of tender age, when diverted aggressively, would lead to dire consequences in the future. Here is a quick rundown of few facts and tips for parents to help their child understand cyberbullying.
Bullying someone is observed since ages. It could be in a school, office, or a locality. And, most of the time, it gets suppressed or solved with the intervention of elders. However, with the advent of mobile devices, social media platforms, and the advancing technologies, bullying is becoming technical and more pervasive into the life of an individual.
Bullying someone over the Internet, via social media, messages, posts or chats is cyberbullying. Unfortunately, it is becoming derogatory, intimidating or threatening these days. The school children are also the targets of cyberbullying which is unwelcoming and disturbing for the child and the elders.
The cyberbullies can attack anonymously and easily from anywhere anytime. As the cyberbullies can follow 24*7, the victims, especially the school children find insecure at home. And, the most disgusting part is the parents or the teachers never know, as the children don’t share openly and hide things in fear of losing the Internet facility.
It is time that parents understand their child even when they are not sharing anything and protect them from cyberbullying. Getting acquainted with cyberbullying types, signs and protective measures is the need of the day.
Types of cyberbullying:
Some of the varied typed of cyberbullying include sending an abusive/threatening message; share embarrassing images/videos; trolling; excluding from the friends’ group intentionally; online shaming; encourage self-harming; setting an abusive poll; creating fake accounts; sending explicit messages, or forcing students to involve in undesirable conversations.
Signs of cyberbullying:
Though many children tend to hide the things from their parents or elders, some of the distinct symptoms are mentioned as follows. The child’s belongings may be lost or damaged for unknown reasons, unexplained bruises on the body, skipping school with mysterious reasons, academic failure, taking money from parents for invalid reasons, becoming arrogant, distressed or withdrawn.
Consequences of cyberbullying:
Cyberbullying is indeed causing an alarming and dangerous impact on the life of a child.
“The mental health consequences of this growing problem can be quite serious,” says Melissa Wellner, MD, child and adolescent psychiatrist at Anne Arundel Medical Center. “Studies show higher rates of depression, suicidal thoughts, and suicide attempts can be the result, and those of us in the mental health community are seeing this firsthand.”
It is a problematic issue that needs to be addressed with the help of parents and elders.
How parents can protect their child from cyberbullying?
Strict denial of Internet activity is not at all recommended. Instead, educating them and creating awareness regarding cyberbullying is essential.
Help your child know about cyberbullying:
- Tell them about online activities
- Give the comfort to talk to you
- Help them to be a responsible online user
- Encourage them for reporting
- Have routine open-ended conversations
- Know their online accounts and passwords
- Monitor their online surfing habits
- Know social media friends-real or unreal, distant or known
What to do when your child gets cyberbullied
- Keep your calm, cool, and give them the comfort to talk
- Listen to them if they have things to share
- If they are not comfortable to talk to you, let it be another elder in the family or a favorite teacher
- Reassure them it is not their fault and shower love on them
- Help them feel good by involving in other activities
- Build a positive environment at home
- Do not stop their online activities
- Check in with them online regularly
- Help them to block the unwanted users/friends
- Talk to their schools to know if cyberbullying is through school friends
- Know the remedial measures and policies a school possess against cyberbullying
- You can contact the host website or social network in the helpline
- If you need more help, you can contact online safety helpline
- Seek professional help in case needed
What to do if your child is the cyberbully
It is necessary to teach empathy. Help them to be aware of the consequences when someone is hurt. It is also necessary to see the subject from the other end. Your child may be hurt or feel low-esteemed and get into the act of bullying to cope up with their emotions.
Explain to them why their actions are unacceptable in the social circle.
Make them beware of the legal charges, loss of online accounts, ban on phone numbers or getting registered as an offender by the court of law.
The closing thought:
Cyberbullying is an aggressive behavior of the growing children, when not attended.
Be watchful on your child’s online activities and provide moral support for the overall upliftment of the child in addition to pursuing academic excellence.