It has become increasingly common for children to have their own social media accounts, post what they like, and talk with who they want to. There are both pros and cons to this. No matter how much you try to monitor your child’s online activity, some things can still happen. According to ExpressVPN, your child can face bullying and not know how to report the issue to you. In a situation like this, you need to know how to tell if your child is bullied online and help them.
It’s possible that you may not be able to believe that your child is actually being bullied by someone online. But you need to understand that bullying can take multiple forms. Kids who happen to have learning difficulties are usually at a higher risk than others. And sometimes, your child may not even be able to understand that they are being cyber-bullied!
So, as a parent, it will be in your hands to know how to tell if your child is bullied online and take steps to ensure your child’s time on social media is pleasant and peaceful.
A lot of kids find it difficult to come to their parents when they are getting bullied. They fear that their parents might take away their electronic devices or blame them for what has happened. Now because your child may be reluctant about approaching you if and when they get bullied, here are some signs of bullying that you need to look out for:
- Even though your child used to use electronic gadgets like laptops, iPads, or phones, they have suddenly stopped using them.
- They have become reluctant to show you their online activity even though they were okay with it before. And not only this, they quickly hide their screen or exit the app they were working on whenever you pass by.
- They are visibly startled whenever they receive a text or notification.
- They seem uneasy when it comes to going to school or anywhere outside the house.
- They have withdrawn from the activities they earlier used to enjoy.
- They are not paying attention to what’s happening around them. Instead, you find them lost deep in thought.
Although these signs are a good indicator of cyberbullying, it’s important to note that not all of these signs are going to be present in all children. Plus, there are going to be some signs apart from the ones mentioned above. Because the way distress is expressed depends varies across children.
Prolonged bullying can put a child at risk of mental health issues and can even be life-threatening.
So, if you think your child is being bullied, you should first talk to them and have them open up to you. Let them know it is safe for them to speak to you and that they are not at fault if someone bullies them online. If your child feels uncomfortable talking to you, don’t force them. Instead, try getting help from a school counselor, therapist, or anyone your child trusts.
You can also exercise your right as a parent to go through your child’s devices to see their browsing history and activity. Let them know about the same calmly.
After you’ve learned more about the situation, you will be able to decide on an appropriate course of action.
If the bully is someone you know, like some other kid at school, you can directly take up the matter with their parents. You can let them know what their kid has been doing and the effects of it. You can approach the guidance counselor or principal of your child’s school. All schools have anti-cyberbullying procedures and policies in place. Try to make use of them.
If these strategies do not work, or if the person bullying your child is someone you don’t know, then it will be better to seek help from law enforcement. Before you approach them, collect enough evidence that you can use to make your case and get a complaint registered. The police will be able to track down the address of the person using their IP address in case the bully’s identity is known.
Trust the law enforcement to take appropriate action if all else fails.
In this post, we looked at some major signs that indicate your child is facing cyberbullying. We also discussed what could be done to help the situation. On a related note, remember that it’s better to be safe than sorry, so taking steps to prevent bullying will be better than dealing with the aftermath.