How to Protect Kids from Cyberbullying
Hiding behind a screen can bring out the worst in some people.
According to a study conducted by the Cyberbullying Research Center, about 37% of middle and high school students say they’ve been cyberbullied, which is defined as “when someone repeatedly and intentionally harasses, mistreats, or makes fun of another person online or while using cell phones or other electronic devices.”
Social media is continuously evolving and it’s important to monitor how it might be affecting your child’s mental health. Being the victim of cyberbullying can negatively affect behavior and performance at school and at home.
Here are some signs to look for if you believe that your child is possibly being cyberbullied:
- He or she seems withdrawn, upset or outraged after texting or being online. Find out where this anger is coming from.
- He or she has unexplained stomachaches or headaches. Stomachaches and headaches can be a result of anxiety and stress due to constantly being tormented by others.
- He or she has trouble sleeping at night. Keep an eye on your child’s sleep patterns. Watch for increased nightmares or lack of sleep.
As a parent, you have the ability to help protect your child from being cyberbullied. While it’s great to give your child space and allow them their own privacy, it is okay to intervene when your child’s safety and health are at risk.
- Check-in with your child frequently. Ask your child how they’re doing and if they’re okay. Create a safe space for your child to feel comfortable talking to you about issues that are bothering them.
- Check your child’s social media. Follow their social media accounts and check their phones periodically. Read through the comments under the posts and the direct messages. Maybe even check your child’s list of blocked users.
- Ask teachers about your child’s behavior. Seek to find out how they’re interacting with other students and if they’ve observed anything troubling.
- Emphasize the importance of self-love and self-care. Always help boost your child’s self-esteem. Helping your child become more confident will have a long-lasting effect.
Remember that you’re the parent and you have the right to be informed of what your child is doing. If you notice any signs that concern you, it’s time to take matters into your own hands. By following the above tips, you can help prevent your child from being cyberbullied.
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