From Being Teased to Cyberbullying
Many adults can remember a time when they were picked on growing up. Whether they were made fun of for the clothes they wore, the games they liked, or the way they spoke, almost everyone has an example from their youth of being teased in some way or another. Though it didn’t feel like it at the time, these are all examples of bullying, and if left unchecked, it can get worse and worse.
But just as technology has advanced, so too has bullying. With the rise of sites like Facebook, Instagram, and SnapChat, young kids are facing bullies and harassers even when they are home.
According to DoSomething.org, an organization that encourages youth to involve themselves in social change, roughly 37% of children aged 12 to 17 have suffered some sort of bullying online. This stat is made worse with that fact that young people who are the targets of cyberbullying are more likely to commit self-harm and contemplate suicide than those who are not.
As a parent, it’s natural to want to keep your child safe from threats and harassment. But how can you tell if your child is being bullied online? There are a few warning signs to look out for.
They No Longer Want To Use The Computer
From online gaming to talking to their friends, lots of kids enjoy spending time on the computer. However, those who are bullied may look to cut their computer time in an effort to alleviate the bullying. If you find that your previously-computer-addicted child suddenly would rather read a book than scroll TikTok, it might be a good time to talk to them about why.
They Become Reluctant or Uneasy About Going to School
When bullying at school bleeds over into the digital realm, the victim may try to mitigate their chances of being picked on by avoiding school. The child may believe that if they are not in the line of sight of their bully, they will be safe. Though it’s natural for some children to not like going to school, it could be a sign of ongoing trouble if this is new behavior for your child.
They Withdraw Into Themselves
Some children who experience bullying withdraw into themselves as a way to protect themselves. They will become secretive and reticent, even around their family members. If a normally outgoing child suddenly becomes quiet and sullen around the house, that could be a sign of bullying.
So, what should you do if you suspect your child of being subjected to cyberbullying? The most important thing is to impress on them that they can talk to you if they are having problems. Many kids are hesitant to speak with their parents about important subjects, but ensure you keep those lines of communication open and available, especially for young children who don’t have the emotional maturity to understand that what’s happening to them is not their fault.
The S.A.F.E. course from SafeSavesLives teaches parents to spot signs of cyberbullying in your child, as well offers tips to help your child avoid cyberbullying, photobullying, and online sexual predators. The internet has become a vital part of our everyday lives and children rely on it for school work and social interaction. It’s in your best interests as well as their to teach them how to navigate that space as safely as possible.