Is your child experiencing cyber bullying?
According to a verified source, kids nowadays spend 2 hours on average in the digital world. On top of that after the pandemic and lockdown, this time has been significantly increased. They rely on these 6 inches devices for studying, playing, socializing, and even shopping. Yes, advancements in technology have opened new doors of opportunities for everyone, including kids but the longer kids stay online (unmonitored), the more likely they are to face the wrath of the negative side of the digital world. One aspect of the internet is online bullying.
First of all, let me tell you what cyberbullying is.
What is Cyber bullying?
Statistics say that approximately 43 percent of kids have experienced online bullying at least once in their life. Cyber bullying or Online Bullying is one of the most common online hazards. If any person is using the internet to embarrass or harass your kid purposely, it counts as cyber bullying. It can be in any form like spreading rumors, posting unsolicited pictures or hate comments, making fake profiles, or sending hate messages.
Most of the kids either don’t realize that they are experiencing it or they hide it from their parents. They are afraid that their online privileges will be taken away or that cyberbullying will get much worse.
Thus, it is very necessary for guardians to identify the signs of cyberbullying timely so that they can provide them adequate support before it’s too late.
Signs That Your Child May Be Experiencing Cyber bullying
Since your kids might not tell you on their own, below given are some changes you need to look for in different aspects of their life to spot the signs of online bullying:-
You can spot the earliest signs of cyber bullying through their technology use. If your kid
- Is obsessively checking their messages or notifications multiple times in a day.
- Behave secretly while using their phones.
- Looks upset during or after using their devices.
- Withdraws themselves from family and friends and spend all of their time on the internet.
- Loves using their devices but stops using them abruptly.
These signs indicate that your kid might be a victim of online bullying.
It is very common for kids to experience cyber bullying by their own social group rather than strangers. So if your kid
- Refuses to attend school
- Doesn’t want to play with their peer group
- Hesitates to take part in usual extracurricular activities
- Avoid seeing and talking online to any particular group of friends
- Is not attentive in studies like usual
Then they might have faced a bad experience.
In behavior and body
You know very well how your kid behaves normally. Yes, they can be moody sometimes but if the behavior is consistent then there is something fishy. If your kid
- Looks nervous and uneasy most of the time.
- Have frequent mood swings.
- Shows the signs of Insomnia.
- Throws tantrums and gets angry very often and easily.
- Lost appetite
- Shows health-related symptoms like losing weight or gains weight abruptly, complains of frequent headaches, and stomach aches.
- Looks uninterested in everything.
Frankly speaking, you can identify these signs only if you behave like a helicopter parent. You need to hover over your kid’s devices and keep an eye on all of their activities. But, if you manage to identify it, it can help you take timely action before it converts into something worse.
Wondering what can be the reinforcement actions if your kid is showing obvious symptoms?
Here it is!
How Can You Help?
If not stopped immediately, cyber bullying can make your kid prone to physical as well as mental health issues like anxiety and depression. They can even think of ending their life. Cyber bullying is not just usual kids’ fight, it must be taken seriously.
Here are some ways in which you can pull your child out from the dig of online bullying;-
– Don’t lose your calm
Your kid is already facing something horrible. Watching you losing your calm is the last thing they want right now. No matter how much worse the situation is, try to be sane and offer your empathy and strength to your kid.
– Try Not To Retaliate
Retaliating the same behavior will only worsen the situation as others can get involved in this spate. Moreover, it will make you as guilty as they are. You do not need to give them the taste of their own medicine, it is the job of concerned officials. You just need to save your kid from it.
– Make a distance
In most cases, you have the authority to block or unfollow. If the kid’s offline group is guilty, then try taking a break for some time. It will also help your kid to deal with situations with a sane mind.
– Reach Out
In some exceptional cases, it is possible that the cyberbully is doing it unintentionally just for fun. Try to reach out to them in person and calmly explain the consequences of their action. They might be willing to make amends.
There are some cases when the situation is out of your control. This may include death threats, circulating private pictures, inciting your kid to harm themselves. In the case of this kind of criminal behavior, do not think twice before reporting officially. If the cyberbully is from their school or institution, reach concerned administrators too.
Prevention Is Better Than Cure
You know what you have to do after it has happened but do you know how you can prevent cyberbullying from happening? Most importantly- TALK. Talk to your kid transparently and encourage them to share everything with you. Secondly, make the internet and their gadgets a safe space for them. Best parental control apps and software like Bit Guardian Parental Control do a terrific job in monitoring the online activities of kids so that you can get early signs in case anything is fishy. It can even block the websites and apps which are unhealthy for your kid and keep them away from online predators. It is very important to create a safe space for your kids and keep them under your radar without pushing them away so that they stay safe in the real as well as the online world.