Bully Signs: How Parents Can help Their Kids with Cyber Bully Signs
Bullies have been a part of childhood and growing up for generations. However, the face of bullying is changing as are the bully signs that need to be looked out for. With new technology and the power and reach of cell phones and computers, cyber bullying is now new source of bullying for many children around the world. Many kids fall victim to this form of bullying, but fortunately there are many steps that can be taken to make things easier.
What is Cyber Bullying?
Before any problem can be addressed and before a solution can be found, there must be a firm understanding of what the issue is. So what exactly is cyber bullying? Cyber bullying occurs through the use of electronic technology, just as its name implies. Because of this, it can reach anyone, anytime, anywhere- it is a global issue because if children are connected online or through social media, there is the threat of cyber bullying. Kids who are the victim of cyber bullied are often also bullied in real life in their schools or in other social groups. Cyber bullying can be much more difficult and more damaging because there does not have to be any face to face contact between the bully and the victim,. It is not like normal bullying that stops when school is over and the child is home. This is the face of cyber bullying that many people do not fully comprehend. Here are just a few examples of how cyber bullying can target your children and some of the signs of bullying to look out for:
- Hateful or hurtful emails sent to the child
- Lies being told on social media
- Sharing secrets or embarrassing things about the child online
- Mocking the child in a forum setting
- Bullying or harassing in instant messages
- Sending hateful texts to the child
- Posting comments on the child’s social media pages
- Making hurtful comments online
- Sharing embarrassing or hurtful photos on social media
- Threats of harm being sent to the child through online media
What Drives Cyber Bullying?
It is a technology driven world and whoever has technology and internet connection can find themselves a victim. Any child can still experience bullying and teasing online. If they have a cell phone or are online or have an email they can still become victims. This is why it is so important that parents know and understand the bully signs that they should be looking out for. Kids who are bullied in this manner face many challenges that most people never even think about. Studies have been done over the last few years and many have show that the victims of bullying are more likely to experiment with drugs and alcohol, drop out of school, fail class, suffer from anxiety or depression, be more prone to health problems, and are more likely to become suicidal. It is obviously a very real danger and it is one that is becoming more and more common in schools.
According to Cyber bullying statistics from the i-SAFE foundation:
- Over half of young adults say that they have experienced cyber bullying in some way and just as many have been on the giving end of cyber bullying.
- Almost half of all pre-teens and young adults have received severe or persistent cyber threats online such as blackmail, airing secrets, and outright death threats.
- Over 25 percent young people surveys said they have been bullied on an almost daily basis through their cell phone and computers.
- Shockingly more than half of those who are victims of some form of cyber bullying do not tell teachers, parents, or any other adult about it.
The Harford County Examiner had eerily similar cyber bullying statistics:
- Only 1 out of every 10 teenagers tells an adult that they are a cyber bully victim.
- Less than a quarter of all severe or life-threatening cyber bully attacks are reported with the local law enforcement.
- One out of every ten students surveys said they had embarrassing or shameful photos taken and posted online without their knowledge or prior permission.
- Girls seem to be a bit more likely to be the cyber bullies when compared to boys.
What Can Parents Do?
Naturally, the goal of the concerned and involved parent is to protect their children and keep them safe. However, the reality is that parents cannot be with their children every waking moment and cannot shield them from all of the horrors of cyber bullying. There are some important and thankfully easy steps that can take to protect children and help them avoid cyber bullying. Parents need to talk to their kids about cyber bullying and make sure they understand that they can talk to them about anything that happens to them. Here are some simple and easy things parents can do right now to help their children:
1. Know your child’s log in information, passwords, and accounts for all their internet and mobile devices and talk with them about why you need to know this.
2. Be watchful and aware of what your child does on the computer, who they are texting, who they are chatting with online, and what sites they are visiting.
3. Learn the current terminology and lingo of the online generation so you can pick up on clues and codes that the kids may be using when the cyber bullying takes place.
4. Attend workshops, talks, and functions where cyber bullying is the topic and talk with parents, other kids, and members of the community about what can be done.
5. Watch for changes in your child’s behavior, if they are avoiding friends, suddenly failing classes, losing interest in favorite activities, or are acting anxious or depressed.
6. Make sure you child know you are there to listen any time they need to talk and demonstrate that readiness when they d approach you.
7. If your child is the one doing the bullying make sure you talk to them about how harmful it can be to others and themselves.
8. Carefully control your own reaction if you learn your child is being a victim- be clam and talk it over with your child and reach a solution and develop a plan together.
9. If they are old enough, talk to your kids about the news stories and tragedies involving cyber bullying so they know to never engage in it and that they should always tell someone if they are a victim.
10. Remind your child that they should always treat others how they would want to be treated and that if they are being bullied or see someone else being bullied then they should do something about it and tell someone.
Closing Thoughts on Cyber Bullying
Bullies have been a part of growing up ever since kid started hanging out together for long periods of time. There has been much research and study dedicated to cyber bullying and what can be done to reduce its impact. However, it is not enough on its own. Parents and family members need to get involved in the lives of young people today. That is the best way to recognized the bully signs that are in front of us, make a difference in the life of children and young adults, and stamp out bullying once and for all!