How To Help Your Child Through Cyberbullying
The Age Of Cyberbullying
Unfortunately, you can find a bully almost anywhere these days. In the past, you could only find bullies in the hallways or at the park after school. These kids were scary and intimidating, but most of the time you knew where they would be and understood how to avoid them. Since the internet has become a staple of everyday life, it’s not as easy for kids to dodge bullies today.
Bullies are no longer just aggressive and violent teenagers who beat smaller kids up; they can now be any child who has access to the internet and an average knowledge of social media. Since the internet allows people to have a sense of anonymity, it is easy for almost anyone to bully someone online without facing any consequences. This type of online harassment is known as cyber bullying.
Nemours Kids Health defines cyberbullying as “when someone uses technology to harass, threaten, embarrass, or target another person.” In an age where children have early access to cellphones and laptops, almost all kids are vulnerable to cyberbullying from an early age. This type of bullying affects about one in five middle school students today. However, a majority of students who experience cyberbullying do not tell anyone or report it. So how can you tell if your child is being cyberbullied? And if you do find out about it, what can you do to stop it?
Signs That Your Child Is Being Bullied Online
When a child or teenager is cyberbullied, they may display some unusual or concerning behaviors. These behaviors are extremely common among children who are bullied online.
If your child is showing one or more of the following signs, they may be getting cyberbullied:
- Unexpectedly using their phone or computer less
- Appearing jumpy or nervous when using devices
- Becoming unusually secretive about their devices
- Seeming angry or depressed after going online
- Having unexplained weight loss or gain
- Being less interested in old hobbies
- Sleeping too much or not enough
- Being uneasy about going to school
- Not wanting to be around their peers
- Having strained relationships with friends or family
- Avoiding discussions about what they do online
- Showing signs of depression and suicidal thoughts
- Making passing statements about suicide
Cyberbullying can ruin a child’s life, so it is important to catch it and do something about it as soon as possible. If you think your child is being cyberbullied but they haven’t told you yet, try to talk to them about it in a calm and understanding way so they don’t get overwhelmed.
How To Help A Child Who Is Being Cyberbullied
The best way to help your child if they are being cyberbullied is to listen to them. Consider what they are going through and do your best to understand their situation. The key is that your child feels safe and supported while discussing this issue with you. Once they feel like they can talk to you about cyberbullying, your child will likely trust you with more information.
Here are some additional ways to assist your child if they are experiencing cyberbullying:
- Encourage them to block their bullies on all social media networks and platforms.
- Keep reminding them that this isn’t their fault and that the bully is responsible.
- Collect evidence of bullying including screenshots, text messages, direct messages, etc.
- Try to work with your child’s school or the school district to stop cyberbullying.
- Make your home computer a safe space. Keep it out in the open and set up permissions.
Everyone who experiences cyberbullying handles it differently and requires different types of treatment. If your child is being cyberbullied, you are encouraged to find a psychologist to help them talk through their problems with an impartial party.
At Elium Health, we offer mental health services for children and teens who experience bullying, abuse, and other types of trauma. Learn more about our offerings and treatment options by giving us a call at 215-714-6027 or sending us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org