Nowadays, bullying not only happens within the boundaries of school. In this digital era, kids can be constantly exposed to aggressions throughout the day if they are users of any online platform. If your child seems anxious when looking at their phone, they may be a victim of cyberbullying, and you can stop their suffering by taking some measures.
Understanding and identifying cyberbullying
Cyberbullying happens when someone uses technology to threaten, embarrass or harass another person. This type of bullying includes sending hurtful messages and threats, posting embarrassing photos and impersonating someone and then sending offensive messages on their behalf. Cyberbullying can be devastating and lead to severe depression. However, you can prevent this by first identifying if your child is a victim. Some signs that victims of cyberbullying show are:
- Noticeable increase or decrease in device use
- Your child reacts with strong emotions to something they see on their phone, and then they don’t tell you what they are looking at
- Your child hides their screen when you or someone else are nearby
- Your child creates new accounts regularly
- Your child avoids social gathering with the other kids
- Your child has lost interest in people and activities
If any of these signs resonate with you, your kid may be a victim of cyberbullying. In that case, you should talk to them with care and ask them what is happening.
How to stop cyberbullying
It may seem like deleting your kid’s accounts may be the ultimate solution. However, this could only worsen things and make your kid feel like they are missing out. After all, they shouldn’t give up their social media because of someone else’s aggressive behavior. Instead of deleting the account, there are certain things that your child can do to avoid online bullying:
- Make their accounts private
- Control comments and put filters that remove offensive words and emojis
- Block or restrict accounts if they don’t want their bully to know they blocked them
- Control who can tag or send them messages
- Set two-factor authentication on their accounts so that no one can hack them
- Report offensive content
You can also report content on behalf of your child. When someone reports a comment or photo, the social media platform will delete it.
Protecting your child
Your child shouldn’t go through this type of harassment, and, fortunately, you can make it stop. If your child is a victim of cyberbullying by their classmates, you could also advise them to take screenshots of all the offenses made against them. The California Education Code states that school officials can expulse children who bully, including bullying by means of an electronic act. So you or your child can show the evidence to the school’s director to protect them from further harassment at school.