Technology, especially the internet has become an integral part of human lives. It is almost impossible to imagine our daily lives without the world wide web. The internet is helping us conduct our professional functions as well as social interactions in an easy and instant manner. However, this trend has also brought with it some hazards.
One of the most serious of these dangers is the cyberbullying of kids. Bullying or intimidation by peers, that was earlier limited to playgrounds or school hallways has now spilled over to the digital space. Demeaning comments on social media made with the intent to knowingly humiliate someone or other forms of online harassment can cause serious harm to a child’s fragile psyche.
Parents must take care to protect their offspring from the hazard and to stop them from perpetrating it. For more information about cyberbullying cases like how to respond, should you file a report in severe cases and many more you can take the help of cyberbullying lawyer. He or she will guide you throughout the process. Here are a few pointers for adults to detect cyberbullying and prevent it.
How to Detect Cyberbullying?
The following are the major signs that can help people detect cyberbullying.
1. Avoiding School and Other Peer Group Activities
In case, you see that your child is trying to avoid school or other group activities on a regular basis, then cyberbullying may be the reason for such behavior. Since he/ she will have to face the perpetrator and his/ her actions, the kid thinks it is better not to visit such a place at all. In fact, the victim will try to withdraw from other social interactions, like meeting relatives, as well.
2. Unusual Behavior After Internet Usage
The most prominent sign of cyberbullying is the kid shows unusual behavior after using the internet or a smart device. Children will react nervously on hearing the notification tone of their gadget and will seem upset after using the device. It is evident that whatever they read or saw has changed their mood. Victims will always be secretive about their online history and activities and will be reluctant to share the details with anyone.
3. Drastic Change in Mood
Victims of online bullying undergo a drastic change in mood and behavior. They can lose their appetite and always seem unhappy. They might not be sleeping properly as well. Another warning sign is slipping performance at the school. When the child is not in a good mental space, it becomes impossible for her to concentrate on studies.
How to Protect Your Child from Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying of kids is a serious issue and it has been seen that victims can take drastic steps or be mentally scarred for the rest of their lives. The following are some tips for parents to protect their offspring from this hazard.
1. Talk to Your Child
In case, you see any of the above-mentioned signs, talk to your child about them. Do not scold him/ her or get irritated if he/she does not disclose the issue straightaway. Kids feel ashamed and talking can be hard for them. Take some time and gently prod the child to share his/ her feelings and the details of the problem with you.
2. Learn About Your Kid’s Online History
Ask any expert cyberbullying lawyer and she will advise you that you must always know about your child’s online history. This does not mean that people should stalk their kids online. However, it will be pertinent to check their posts occasionally and educate them about the kind of things that must never be shared in the digital world.
3. Tell the Child Not to Respond to Online Comments
Tell children never to respond to any comment that can be categorized as online harassment. At the same time, do not delete the messages. Instead, maintain a physical record of the comments so that it can be proved that the harassment did take place. There are cyberbullying laws that can be invoked to protect a victim in case things start going too far.
What to Do When Your Child Is the Bully?
This is an aspect that is hardly discussed but parents of bullies must stop their children from perpetrating such behavior. Here are some tips for such parents.
1. Talk Firmly to Your Child
Tell your child that such behavior is intolerable and unacceptable. Explain to him/ her about the effect of his/ her actions on the victim. It will also be sensible to point out the legal repercussions of such bad behavior.
2. Restrict Child’s Access to His/ Her Device
Explicitly tell the child that using the internet or a smartphone is a privilege. Restrict the perpetrator’s access to his/ her gadget for some time to send a message that this privilege can be revoked in case of irresponsible behavior.
3. Take Professional Help
Just like victims, bullies also need to be handled with care. Contact professional counselors to understand the reason for such behavior and take the necessary steps to set things right.
Cyberbullying of kids has become a grave issue that needs to be handled tactfully. Parents of both victims and bullies must understand the emotional state of their child and take steps accordingly to prevent any long-term damage.