Over the last twenty years, we have seen a dramatic shift that occur throughout the world where almost everything we do is now done online. As amazing and convenient as some of these advancements have been, there have been some negative side effects as well. One of these troubling trends, especially among tweens and teenagers, is the use of social media and other platforms to bully, intimidate, or threaten their peers online. As a parent, you need to know and recognize the signs of cyberbullying and put a stop to them as soon as possible. It’s for this reason that we have compiled a list of some of the most common signs of cyberbullying so you can keep an eye out for them and protect your loved ones.
Nervous when texting or using social media
Many parents limit the amount of time their younger children use social media or spend on their phones, but cyberbullying knows no age limit. Even older high school or college-age students can be cyberbullied.
One of the most common issues kids seem to face when they’re being cyberbullied is that they tend to be nervous or jumpy when texting or using social media. Rather than letting them struggle alone, keep digital devices in a common area so you’ll be able to keep an eye on their behavior and others’ responses.
Shutting down a conversation about online activity
For many junior high and high school students, it may seem natural to withdraw a little from your parents and not share as much with them. But serious withdrawal and angry bouts of shutting down any conversation that has to do with online accounts is a clear sign that there might be some cyberbullying happening.
Kids of any age will try to hide what’s going on online from parents or other adults in their lives when they feel threatened by cyber bullies. Make clear-cut rules for your kids about what their online activity and subsequent conversations will look like as well as keep track of their passwords and usernames so you can check on what’s happening if things start to get difficult.
Trouble sleeping at night or being sleepy during the day
Sticks and stones may break bones, but words tend to linger forever. Kids are often haunted by the words their bullies use online to taunt and tease them ruthlessly. Much like adults, kids find themselves worrying about these words and thoughts deep into the night causing them to not be able to sleep. As a result, they’re often sleepy during the day.
Loss of interest
Even young children have hobbies or interests that make them feel happiness and joy. When they suddenly have a loss of interest in these things, it can signal that they’re struggling to deal with cyberbullying.
Often these hobbies or interests are at the root of the teasing and taunting that your child might be experiencing, so they attempt to distance themselves out of embarrassment or in an attempt to fit in. This is a great time to talk with your child about doing what makes them happy and not worrying about what others think.
An active and involved parent is one of the best ways to head off and deal with cyberbullying among kids. Teaching your kids about focusing on what makes them happy instead of trying to please others is a lesson that your kids can learn for the future.
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