What should I do if my kid is bullied online
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Mar 17, 2021
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Sophia Clark

What should I do if my Kid is Bullied Online?

Are you paranoid about the safety of your children? Are you scared about your child’s digital wellbeing? Have you seen your child being fearful? Are they scared? Shameful? Or withdrawn? Some of these may be signs that you should not ignore. Your child may be getting bullied online.

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Bullying traditionally was most prevalent in schools. With the rise of digital platforms, there has also been a rise in bullying online. Bullying refers to harm or intimidate someone who is vulnerable. Bullying is a term often associated with school or children.

But the growth of social media has brought bullying into digital platforms as well. Bullying is growing through online mediums as well. This has caused the birth of a new form of bullying in the new era. It is called cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying is a growing problem for countries around the world. It has since been studied and countries have taken actions to punish such activities. But statistics still show that there are a growing number of victims of cyberbullying. It also shows that there is a growing number of children and teens who are getting bullied online.

According to a study conducted by Ditch the Label, 7 in 10 children have experienced bullying online before the age of 18. Another study by Do Something Organization shows that teenage girls between the age of 12-17 are more prone to getting cyberbullied. It shows that 15% of girls of the age group are bullied online.

There are statistics that also show that the trend of online bullying is also increasing. From the ten year period from 2007 to 2016, the percentage of teens experiencing cyberbullying has remained at 32%.

But the 2019 statistics showed that there was an increase of 11% in cyberbullying. The study reported that in the year 2019 the percentage had increased to be 43%. This shows that there is an increase in the online bullying of teenagers.

We now know that cyberbullying is a big problem. But what really is cyberbullying? How does it impact children? How do we recognize it? And how do we safeguard our children from online bullying?

What is Cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is bullying caused through an electronic or digital medium. It is also known as online bullying. Cyberbullying can occur through text messages, applications, social media channels, online forums, and gaming platforms.

Cyberbullying can take place from any digital device. It includes mobile phones, tablets, and laptops. Cyberbullying includes scaring, threatening, blaming, or blackmailing people through digital media.

Cyberbullying also includes spreading false rumours, sending hateful messages, making unwanted sexual remarks, spreading personal information, etc. The intent behind cyberbullying is often malicious. It is also repetitive in nature.

Cyberbullying is often based on appearance, race, gender identity, sexuality, and intelligence. This makes children more scarred if they face cyberbullying. At a young age, they are just learning about themselves, and being shamed for what they are can disrupt their sound mental health.

Some of the examples of cyberbullying includes:

  • Sending threatening messages
  • Publishing personal private content of someone
  • Pretending to be someone to send mean messages on their behalf
  • Spreading false rumours about someone
  • Sending mean or hurtful messages
  • Sending unwanted sexual remarks
  • Spreading or promoting hate speech

Cyberbullying is often done with wrongful intentions. They are done to cause harm to others whether intentional or unintentional.

So where can this cyberbullying can happen? There are many digital platforms where cyberbullying occurs. Here are some of the examples of where do bullying can happen online:

Social Media Platforms like :

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Snapchat
  • Youtube
  • Tiktok

Messaging platforms like :

  • Facebook Messenger
  • Viber
  • Whatsapp
  • Text Message
  • Skype
  • WeChat

Online forums like :

  • Reddit

Online Gaming Communities like :

  • Steam
  • Discord

Cyberbullying may occur from one or many of these platforms that your children may use. You have to be aware of their activities on each of these platforms.

Warning signs that your child is being cyberbullied

So how can you know that your kid is bullied online? It is very unlikely for children to consult their parents if they face a problem. They feel scared or ashamed. Some kids may not even recognize that they are being bullied online.

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According to a survey by NCPC.org, 70% of teenagers don’t seek help when confronted with being bullied online. They choose to act on these problems themselves. This may cause even more problems for them in the future.

This proves that teens are even less likely to seek the help of their parents. They are ashamed to report their experience. They may even be scared that it is their own fault. They may be scared that their parents might punish them for it.

They may also not report cases of online bullying because they think they are adults. Admitting to facing cyberbullying might make them feel that their independence is being diminished.

So in these cases, it is the duty of the parent to recognize the warning. You need to pay attention to the following warning signs of cyberbullying:

  • Nervous/ uncomfortable about going outside or to school
  • Seems on the edge while using their phone
  • Nervous while using social media
  • Unexplained amount of increase or decrease in using their phone
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Sleeplessness
  • Sleeping during the day
  • Denial to let parents intervene
  • A decrease in interest in their hobbies or passion
  • Suicidal thought
  • Social anxiety
  • Making jokes or snide remarks about suicide
  • Upset after using gaming
  • Social Withdrawal
  • Express the feeling of frustration
  • Sudden weight gain or weight loss
  • Anti-social behavior
  • Poor mental health
  • Headaches or stomach aches

Effects of cyberbullying on Children

The effects of cyberbullying on children are extremely severe. Therefore, you must be aware of the above-given signs of cyberbullying on children. If the cyberbullying persists, your children may be affected by the cyberbullying even in the long term.

Yes, that is correct. Cyberbullying can also have negative short term as well as long term effects on your children. Some of these short and long negative effects of online bullying on children are as follows:

  • Lower self-esteem
  • Lower self-confidence
  • Eating disorders
  • Social anxiety
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Self-harming
  • Drug or alcohol abuse
  • Suicide or suicidal thoughts
  • Other mental issues

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Sophia Clark

Sophia Clark is a writer from Sydney, kid-lit enthusiast, and mom of three kids who loves to writes about motherhood, parenting, and big feelings.