Signs your child may be a victim to cyber-bullying. According to Dosomething.org, 37% of young people between the ages of 12 and 17 have been bullied online. While that statistic is staggering, perhaps even worse is that this can be a recurring experience for some kids – 30% have had it happen more than once. This can come as a bit of a gut punch for parents, especially knowing that today’s kids rely on technology more than any generation before them. So what should parents be on the lookout for? What are some signs that your child might be a victim of cyberbullying?
As parents, we have much to be aware of and worry about. Are our kids doing well in school? Are they eating enough fruits and vegetables? Are they healthy? Do they have friends? But one thing parents often don’t think about is the impact that the proliferation of technology and devices can have on their children. Sure, we may worry if our kids are getting too much screen time. But what about cyberbullying? Could our kids be a victim?
One of the best things parents can do is be aware of what to look for. Pay attention to these signs that your child might be a cyberbullying victim.
Kids who have been victims of cyberbullying are often ashamed that it is happening. As a result, they often get very secret with their devices, making them less likely to show mom or dad what they are doing on their phones.
Don’t want to go to school
Has your child suddenly demonstrated a reluctance to go to school? Even though cyberbullying happens online, your child might fear facing their peers, especially if the bully is a classmate.
Change in appetite
When kids are ridiculed or insulted, it can damage their overall psyche and well-being. The natural result can be a change in appetite and not just a newfound disinterest in food. If your child has historically been a happy and healthy eater and suddenly, that behavior has changed, this could indicate that something is going wrong.
Happy-go-lucky kids can suddenly turn moody or sullen when they are subject to the abuse of a cyber-bully. If your child suddenly seems withdrawn, sad, or otherwise not themselves, this could mean they have come into contact with a cyberbully. Mood swings can also be indicators of other health concerns, so be sure to keep an eye out in the event your child needs help.
Too much screentime
Is your child checking their phone constantly? Though this can also be a sign of screen addiction, your child may check for new messages from their online attackers.
It can be worrisome to think that your child could fall victim to an online attacker who has everything but your child’s best interests in mind. One of the best things parents can do is establish an open line of communication with their child. Talk to your child about bullying and cyberbullying and respecting others. Ensure your child is free to express their emotions to you without fear of criticism. And most importantly, work together to provide a safe environment for your child to seek comfort from you and determine how to handle the situation.