Tips You Can Use to Identify If Your Child Is Being Cyberbullied
by Carolyn Lee Sep 4, 2023
Social media and e-learning platforms allow children to connect with others virtually. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube, Snapchat, and TikTok help children stay connected, share their creativity, and learn from others. Although technology has many benefits, some people bully others on these platforms. As you prepare your children for the new school year, we want to share a few tips you can use to identify if your child is a victim of cyberbullying.
What is cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying (online bullying or cyber harassment) involves using electronic methods to intimidate, threaten, or harass others via messages, comments, and targeted posts. It may also include cyberstalking. Hacking someone’s phone or social media pages, spreading rumours about others online, and using someone else’s identity to spread harmful messages are forms of cyberbullying.
People who cyberbully others may also share personal or private information that they hope will embarrass or humiliate their target. Cyberbullying typically happens on social media platforms, forums, gaming communities, online chatrooms, and via text messages, direct messages, and emails. Adults and children can be victims of cyberbullying, which can be devastating and traumatic, especially for children.
Signs your child is being cyberbullied.
It can be challenging for most children to identify cyberbullies since many use fake accounts. Fear of losing online privileges may also deter some children from seeking help. Some cyberbullied children may display signs that include a sudden lack of interest in texting, using devices, or strong emotional reactions (anger, frustration, upset behaviour) to what they view online. After shutting down their original accounts, these children may withdraw from activities they once enjoyed or create new social media pages.
How to prevent your child from being cyberbullied
Talk to your children: Develop and nurture open communications so they are comfortable talking to you about their lives. Discuss what cyberbullying is and share relatable examples so they are aware and know how to identify it.
Get involved: Monitor their online activity using apps (Apple and Android) that allow you to view online behaviour, chats, text messages, etc. Save evidence of cyberbullying and use it to help create school policies and rules that minimise cyberbullying.
Learn about the apps they use: Get familiar with your child’s social media platforms and apps. You need to know how the apps work and how trolls interact with others in these spaces. Many social media apps do not have parental controls, so you must adjust the privacy features in your child’s account as best as possible.
Be active and intentional: Support parent and school communities that unite against cyberbullying. Encourage teachers and staff to address cyberbullying in school newsletters, on the school’s website, and in meetings.
Why should you address cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying can cause some children to struggle psychologically, physically, and academically. Bullying stresses young people significantly because it makes them scared, embarrassed, or hurt. In extreme cases, cyberbullying can cause some people to inflict self-harm or even hurt others. Intense and sustained cyberbullying can be damaging to children’s self-esteem. So, it’s crucial to identify it and get help for those affected.
Cyberbullying is a sensitive topic, so we hope these tips help. Please use Find Yello to find therapists, counsellors, or related services. You can also contact your local suicide prevention hotline or other relevant government organisation for support if you believe your child is in danger of self-harm or hurting others.
Sources: Stop Bullying, Verywell Mind, Teach Thought, Jamaica Gleaner, Safe Wise, and UNICEF.