Cyberbullying A New Threat?
With social media, smart phones, tablets, laptops and wireless Internet everywhere, gone are the days when you knew your child was safe because they were home with you. Your child is not safe as they can be bullied anytime and anywhere. The territory is scary and dangerous as the modern age has opened up a big and new world for bullies as well as for victims.
Welcome to the age of cyber bullying, where calling names and pushing someone around on the playground has progressed to relentless slandering, hate messages and an attack of harassment and even threats hurled at children and teens by their peer group via email, Facebook, text messages, chat rooms, etc. A parent’s best protection is to know what to look for to decide if your child is being bullied or if they may be the guilty party to cyber bullying of another child.
Sometimes cyber bullying can be easy to spot for example, if your child shows you a text, tweet, or response to a status update on Facebook that is cruel. Other acts are less evident, like mimicking a victim online or posting personal information, photos, or videos designed to hurt or humiliate another person.
Here are signs to look for that may mean your child is involved in cyberbullying, either as victim or culprit.
Signs That Your Child Might Be A Victim:
Being offline suddenly
Any sudden changes in your child’s online activities are not to be ignored. If he or she goes from being constantly online to suddenly avoiding it, it means there might be some harassment.
Being at home
Suddenly you might see that your teenager has stopped socializing or avoiding even their favorite activities. It might be possible they are being bullied even on personal front.
Feeding their feelings
Drastic changes in your child’s appetite need to be looked into. Either he or she will skip meals or you might catch them bingeing. Changes in sudden food habits need to be taken seriously.
Signs That Your Child Might Be A Cyberbully:
Do keep a watch if you see your teen minimize or close a window on their laptop or hide their phones in your presence. Be extra careful if your teen seems very firm about hiding your screen and avoids having discussions with you.
Obsessed to be online
If your notice your child being online 24/7 and gets irritated easily when interrupted, time you pay extra attention to his or her online activities.
As a parent if you get to know that if your child is one of the above, you are not helpless. It is painful to know that your child is involved in such activities. No matter where your child fits in, you need to gain their trust and have an open communication about it. Both the victim and the culprit often struggle with depression, low self-esteem and peer pressure.
You will have to limit their online presence over cellphones, computers and tablets. Make it clear to your child that use of these are “privileges” and misuse of it will result into taking them away. Also seek the help of a counselor and the teachers at school to help your child cope up with such kind of behavior.
Also as a parent set a good example to your child as they will always follow in your footsteps. Also tackling cyber bullying is a difficult task, but be persistent and create awareness and you will make a difference is protecting children from this prevalent issue.
Picture courtesy: bullyingpreventioninjds.com
by techtalks @TechTalks March 4, 2015 9:23 AM UTC