According to a PEW Research poll, 59 percent of American teenagers say they have been bullied or harassed online at some point in their lives. It isn’t simply American children that are affected. According to a survey conducted by Unicef, one in every three young people aged 13 to 24 in 30 countries has been the victim of online bullying. Because of today’s ubiquitous use of technology, children and teenagers are more vulnerable to cyberbullying than ever before.
Parents can confront cyberbullying and even help prevent it before it occurs, despite the fact that cyberbullies often hide behind screens and usernames. For parents, the first step is to arm themselves with knowledge. Once you have a good understanding of what cyberbullying is, you can intervene, report, and avoid it.
What is a Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is defined as “willful and repetitive harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and some other electronic devices,” and according to Cyberbullying Research Laboratory. The victim is frequently humiliated as a result of these exchanges. They are deliberate and persistent, and victims believe that no one is safe from a cyberbully.
Cyberbullying Characteristics –
There are a few distinguishing indicators that might assist parents in determining whether or not online activities are part of a cyberbullying relationship. To be termed cyberbullying, an online encounter must meet the following criteria:
- Cyberbullying is done with the intention of causing harm.
- Multiple incidences of bullying behavior are always present in a case of cyberbullying.
- Harmful: the victim suffers harm as a result of the bully’s actions.
- Cyberbullying takes place on cellphones, computers, gaming consoles, and other electronic devices.
Cyberbullies and their victims have a symbiotic relationship. There is a pattern of online bullying that has developed over time and has to be addressed.
When and where does cyberbullying occur most commonly?
Because cyberbullying occurs online and through modern devices, the victim may feel powerless to stop it. They could be attacked every time they unlock their phone or go into their social media account. Cyberbullying is very common:
- On social media platforms
- Using text messaging
- On texting apps for smartphones
- In online forums and chat rooms
- Using email when playing online games
- In live stream feeds
Cyberbullies have the ability to track or harass their victims in ways that were unimaginable in past decades. There are no black eyes or shattered lips when it comes to online bullying. However, there are also distinctions between traditional in-person bullying and cyberbullying.
What Is the Difference Between Online and In-Person Bullying?
According to PEW Research Center research, by the time they reach the age of adolescence, 45 percent of children are nearly continuously online. This provides more opportunities for internet bullies to target victims. Cyberbullying removes some of the constraints that traditional bullying imposes, allowing it to be more persistent and difficult to prevent.
In a few aspects, cyberbullying vary from traditional or in-person bullying:
- It doesn’t have to be face-to-face; it can be over the phone.
- It can happen at any time and in any location (including a child’s home or on their personal device).
- Contact with the bully is frequently anonymous, making it difficult to notice or handle.
- It has a tremendous reach: videos and photographs can go viral on the internet.
- Cyberbullies’ content will always be available online.
- It harms everyone involved, including the cyberbully’s reputation.
Furthermore, cyberbullying can affect anyone. When the constraints of physical space are removed, anyone can become a target.
How to Recognize Cyberbullying in Your Child
According to Security.org, 44% of all internet users have been harassed online at some point. When unpleasant behavior continues, it is referred to be cyberbullying, which can have long-term, devastating consequences.
Children who are cyberbullied sometimes find it difficult to talk to adults about their experiences. They are embarrassed, or they are concerned that their phone or internet rights will be revoked. Children and teenagers are affected differently by cyberbullying, although nearly all victims of online bullying feel some level of anguish. Parents must keep an eye on their children’s conduct to see if anything is wrong.
Cyberbullying Warning Signs
Cyberbullying can manifest itself in a variety of ways, including:
- Appetite fluctuations
- Behavioral changes on the internet (more or less time spent online, behaving quiet or secretive about activities, closing or hiding their devices around parents)
- Stress and worry cause changes in sleep patterns.
- Sadness and depression are examples of mood fluctuations.
- Fear of being bullied at school or of being embarrassed by what others have seen on the internet has caused some students to avoid going to school.
- Less time spent with friends and family
- Stress, worry, or sadness can cause a drop in grades or involvement in activities.
- Feeling physically sick, as a result of stress-related stomachaches or headaches, for example
Changes in behavior can alert parents to the fact that their child is experiencing difficulties. The sooner a parent recognizes the warning signs, the sooner he or she can intervene and avert further injury.
Is it bullying or teasing?
It can be difficult to spot cyberbullying. Interactions between two children can begin as taunting and later progress to cyberbullying. Teasing is usually amusing, and it can even aid in the bonding of children or the learning of how to deal with constructive criticism.
When someone teases someone else to hurt them constantly, though, it becomes bullying. To assess whether your child is experiencing peer-to-peer teasing or (cyber)bullying, you can ask them the following questions:
- Are you buddies with the kids who tease you?
- Do you enjoy it when they make fun of you?
- Do you tease them in return?
- Would they cease taunting if you instructed them to?
- Would they apologize if you informed them they had hurt your feelings?
You may need to learn more about the situations if your child answers “no” or is unsure about the answers to the questions. Then you can judge whether it’s a case of socially acceptable taunting or bullying, which is far more detrimental.
Parents’ Challenges in Dealing with Cyberbullying
Knowing whether your child is being bullied is the first step in treating cyberbullying. The second challenge is dealing with it. The technical aspect of cyberbullying makes it difficult for well-intentioned parents to deal with the difficulties.
To begin with, confronting the bully can be difficult. On the internet, the aggressors are frequently invisible or anonymous.
Second, when students are involved in cyberbullying, it can be difficult to determine who — and to what extent — is accountable for addressing the problem. Furthermore, it may be unclear who is responsible for dealing with inappropriate technological use.
- Parents frequently believe they do not have enough time to learn about or manage technology.
- Teachers are unsure when to intervene in situations involving pupils that occur outside of school.
- Only if there is clear evidence of a crime will law enforcement become involved.
These difficulties can be intimidating. Parents can, however, work out solutions with their kid or teen (as well as other parents, teachers, or school authorities if necessary) to end the bullying and prevent further attacks if they take it to step by step.
What Should You Do If Your Child Has Been Cyberbullied?
During the school year, one out of every five kids (ages 12 to 18) has been bullied. It’s frequently up to you, the parent, to deal with any online difficulties that arise. Expect neither the school nor other parents to intervene in inappropriate online behavior, especially at first. Take immediate action to mediate the situation.
If your child is being cyberbullied, take the following steps:
Below, we’ll go over each of these processes in further depth.
1) Discuss with your child.
A first step in dealing with cyberbullying is to have a calm conversation with your child, free of judgment or strong emotions. If you’re upset, wait until you’ve cooled down and can assess the situation objectively before talking to your youngster. Then, with your teen or child, start a supportive and reassuring discourse.
Here are some suggestions for talking to your child about cyberbullying:
- Assist your child or teen in realizing that it is not their fault. They have a lot to be proud of and a lot to be proud of.
- Involve your child in the process of resolving the issue. Talk to them about the actions you’ll take and what they can do to help. They won’t feel alone or as though they’ve done something wrong this way. They can even learn how to deal with cyberbullying in the future by going through the process with you: who to talk to, what sites to avoid, and how to configure privacy settings.
- Remind students that taking revenge on a bully is not a good option. It has the potential to make matters worse for everyone connected.
2) Keep track of cyberbullying information.
Save cyberbullying stuff for proof before you or your kid deletes it. This can come in handy later on, especially if the bullying doesn’t cease. Take screenshots and, if at all feasible, download communications, photos, and videos. Then save, print, or save them to a confidential file on your computer in case the bullying increases and others, such as law enforcement, are required to intervene.
Ascertain that these files are kept in a secure manner. You don’t want them to be lost because you failed to back them up. You should also make sure that no one else has access to them without your permission, as this can be extremely harmful to your child. For suggestions and how-to guides, see our articles about backing up your data on various devices.
3) Ignore the bully and block him.
Don’t let your lack of technical knowledge keep you from doing the action to stop cyberbullying. It’s relatively simple to make instant modifications to your child’s gadgets.
Begin by barring any contacts who are participating in cyberbullying from contacting your child online. Even if the cyberbully is anonymous, you can utilize in-app safety settings to prevent the user from contacting your child on apps.
Consider erasing damaging information from your child’s applications and devices once it has been saved or recorded for evidence (if needed). If the cyberbully is a classmate, you can report them to the school after you have blocked them. This stage is covered in greater depth further down.
4) Configure the necessary privacy and parental settings.
Aside from barring a bully, you may also take a close look at your child’s internet accounts’ privacy settings. These settings, in combination with parental control and family security software, can help your child’s online privacy and safety.
Our staff has created numerous articles on how to establish more restrictive privacy settings on social media and mobile devices. Here are several examples:
- Change your Instagram privacy settings
- Change your Snapchat privacy settings
- Change your YouTube privacy settings
- Change your WhatsApp privacy settings
You might also wish to consider utilizing parental control software in addition to these privacy settings. Your approach to parental control will be determined by your child’s age. Teenagers may be content with a simple spot-check every now and then that does not require any further software. Family security software can help you set more stringent parental controls and keep a closer check on what your child is doing online.
Parental software configuration, like the Bark app, can help you block sites, filter content, and track your child’s online behavior to ensure that bullies don’t contact them. This could be an excellent option for younger children.
Whatever security and privacy precautions you take, they should not be viewed as a penalty. Make sure your youngster understands that they are there to provide a safe environment for them. Furthermore, be open and honest with your child about what you can observe of their online conduct. Make sure they don’t feel watched or spied on.
5) Assist your child in making friends who will be supportive of him or her.
According to statistics on cyberbullying, more than half (57%) of bullying incidents were stopped when a peer intervened. When a group of friends rallies around the target, bullies are generally deterred. Friends can also assist in the recording of evidence, reporting of wrongdoing, and making a victim feel less alone.
To get to that point, your child must believe that they can trust their friends and that they have the ability to communicate with their peers. Depending on your child’s age, you can actively assist them by calling their friends’ parents and planning exciting activities, or you can passively assist them by encouraging them to start contact and freely discuss their friendships.
6) Teach your youngster how to cope with stress.
Being the target of cyberbullying may be quite stressful. Encourage your child or teen to schedule time for activities that they like, such as hanging out with supportive friends, going to the park, riding bikes, practicing yoga, or participating in sports. These activities produce endorphins, boost self-esteem, lower the risk of sadness, and remind adolescents that life isn’t all about what occurs online.
7) Inform authorities about cyberbullying.
You may be required to report the issue depending on its severity. Depending on where the bullying occurred and who the bully is, a variety of authorities are required to be informed about cyberbullying (a classmate or a stranger online).
You may need to contact one of the following authorities to report internet bullying:
- Report cyberbullying to your child’s school if your youngster is being cyberbullied by known peers. They can then assist in resolving the problem and providing support. Extra security settings on school devices may be enabled by the IT director. The implications of bullying in school could be explained by school administration. Programs like PTA Connected can help parents and teachers connect to digital safety through discussions, information, and tools if teachers are unsure what steps to take with their pupils.
- Other parents include: If you know who the bully is, you can collaborate with other parents to devise a strategy for resolving the situation and keep track of how things are going.
- Parents and teens can report the cyberbully using in-app capabilities on any social networking site or app where online bullying has occurred, whether the cyberbully is recognized or completely anonymous. Users can report hazardous content using Twitter’s safety mode features, for example. After that, Twitter will look into the incident and may decide to block the person. The Cyberbullying Research Center has compiled a list of online gaming networks, social media firms, and other websites that have reporting tools.
- If you believe your child’s personal safety is in jeopardy, you should inform the police. If you live in the United States, you can simply locate your local law enforcement offices using the internet.
What Should You Do If Your Child Is Cyberbullying Others?
If you realize your child is cyberbullying others, you must act promptly and calmly. A focused and timely response will help to prevent further injury to the target and your child. If your child is a cyberbully, here’s how you should react:
1) Maintain your cool.
Try not to pass judgment on your child. If they believe they are being unfairly assessed, they may lash out or be less cooperative in resolving the issues. Before you talk to your child, make sure you’re in the correct frame of mind. It’s best to take a moment to cool yourself than to rush into a heated, ineffective discussion. The goal of your talk should be to build understanding and work together to find a solution.
2) Inquire into the situation
Allow your child or adolescent to discuss the problem with you. Try to comprehend it from their point of view. Perhaps they have been wounded by someone else or are experiencing personal stress, causing them to direct their rage and fear towards others. They may be subjected to peer pressure or fail to recognize social cues that indicate when enough is enough. If you understand the underlying cause, you will have a better chance of reducing bullying behaviors.
You can go more into the situation by asking questions such as:
- What triggered the cyberbullying?
- How long has it been like this?
- Who is being cyberbullied, and who is being bullied?
- What happened to the victim, and can you show me the evidence?
You are unlikely to receive direct responses at first, if at all. In this scenario, consider who their friends are, what bothers them, and what stressful events have occurred recently. This could help to put cyberbullying into context.
3) Put a stop to internet bullying.
The manner in which you halt the bullying will fluctuate depending on the severity of the cyberbullying, who was bullied, and the age-appropriateness of the repercussions. There are five major things you may take to prevent your child from cyberbullying:
- Discuss cyberbullying with your child. Explain that they are not necessarily a bully, but that their behavior is inappropriate. They have the ability to change their behavior and make better decisions in the future. Show them examples of cyberbullying’s consequences. You can look up news stories or share a personal experience. This can also help to develop empathy, which we’ll go into in more detail later.
- Set more stringent privacy settings and controls on your devices. Make sure you are aware of what your child is doing online so that you can put a stop to the bullying. You may accomplish this by keeping track of your child’s passwords and monitoring their accounts on a regular basis, or by installing a family security software to monitor a child’s or teen’s behavior. Unfortunately, children are frequently more technologically skilled than their parents, and they may easily remove posts or change their passwords. Parental control software may be more successful in monitoring their activity.
- Make a decision on the consequences. Determine the right punishments based on the severity of their actions. This might include confiscating smartphones or restricting access to specific apps. You can revisit this topic once your child has demonstrated that they can return to respectful behavior.
- Please report it. If a classmate is being bullied, you must report it to the school so that the conduct may be monitored and prevented there as well. Also, report and delete any cyberbullying-related messages, photographs, or posts on any social media site, gaming network, or app. This allows the companies to respond in accordance with their policies. Reporting it saves other children from bullying and demonstrates to your child that everyone, even their favorite sites like Instagram, takes these issues very seriously.
- Continue to keep an eye on things and check-in. Every child is unique. If you can address the underlying causes of the bullying, the behavior may cease entirely. In more challenging circumstances, additional intervention may be required. Consider tightening device limitations or enlisting the assistance of specialists such as therapists, school administrators, or anti-bullying campaigners.
4) Work to increase empathy in order to prevent more harm.
Children make mistakes. Nonetheless, your youngster must grasp the seriousness of bullying. Restricting internet activity or social media access does not necessarily end the behavior. Children must sometimes figure things out for themselves. A wonderful method to accomplish this is to place them in a fresh environment that fosters empathy while challenging their ideas or actions. Here are a few pointers to help your youngster develop greater empathy:
- Show them examples of people who have been harmed by cyberbullying. As previously said, news stories can be beneficial. The New York Times has a whole section dedicated to stories on cyberbullying.
- Place your youngster or adolescent in fresh situations to help them develop empathy. Consider community service projects, mission trips, volunteer opportunities, or other activities that demonstrate different points of view. This will reinforce the idea that everyone has baggage and challenges.
- Engage the services of a family or child therapist who can offer a professional perspective on your child’s cyberbullying conduct.
How Can Parents Help in the Prevention of Cyberbullying?
Sometimes, the damage has already been done by the time a parent discovers their child is being cyberbullied. Taking actions to avoid cyberbullying before it occurs is the greatest approach to keep your child safe online:
1) Assist your child in developing online and offline resilience.
Everyone will come across unpleasant or hurtful behavior at some point in their lives. Bullies will have a hard time getting to your youngster if they don’t get upset by insults since they recognize their own worth. That is why it is critical to developing resilience. Here are some suggestions for how you may help:
- Set a good example for others. If you get a bad comment, show your child how to ignore it, respond properly, and talk to someone who can help you process how it made you feel. Demonstrate to your child that while nasty things said or done by others can make you unhappy, they do not diminish your worth. Also, be open to being vulnerable. When you make a mistake, admit it and show that you own up to it rather than hiding it.
- Find characters from a movie or a book that you can relate to. Fiction, especially for younger children, demonstrates how to deal with a variety of issues. You can use your child’s favorite books to demonstrate how heroes overcome adversity.
- Help them come up with a positive slogan about themselves that they may repeat every day in the bathroom mirror: “I am strong,” for example. I am a nice person. I am intelligent and I advocate for others!”
- Together, do yoga or meditate. These abilities can boost your child’s self-esteem and resilience while also reducing anxiety.
2) Show them examples of cyberbullying in the current world.
Empathy can assist someone who cyberbullies others improve their conduct, but it can also help them avoid doing so in the first place. Cyberbullying, also known as online harassment, is a topic that frequently appears in the news. Take advantage of the next time you see or hear a story like this to discuss the implications of cyberbullying with your child.
3) Keep in touch with them and participate in their internet activities.
Communication is necessary. Talk to your youngster about what’s going on in their lives on a regular basis. You might inquire about what apps they use online, who they communicate with, and with whom they play games. You might even try playing their favorite game with them to get a peek at their pastime and familiarize yourself with how it works. If your children use Reddit or other unsupervised platforms, make sure you are aware of the risks.
If you show any interest in your children’s activities in a nonjudgmental manner, they will be more willing to come to you with any problems. If they are worried about being bullied or becoming an online bully because of a situation at school or at home, they may discuss their concerns with you, allowing you to guide them in the appropriate direction.
How Can You Assist Your Child With Cyberbullying?
For everyone concerned, cyberbullying is a difficult and stressful experience. Every day, new technology appears, and children and teenagers are spending more time online than ever before, making it difficult to stay up. That’s why we created a parent guide to assist parents to prevent or respond to cyberbullying, complete with specific tips and steps. Families can make the internet a safer, more inclusive environment for everyone one step at a time.
Visit these anti-bullying resources for helplines and other information about where to report bullying behaviors:
Read our thorough guide to children’s online safety and our suggestions for keeping kids safe to discover more about how you can keep your child safe online. Stay With Us For Coming New More Articles For You. And thanks for reading These Articles: