Cyber violence is an issue that every parent should stay on top of. It is more than an issue, actually. All over the world, many kids have committed suicide after being bullied online. Kids who bully others need to learn that their online behavior has grave consequences. Parents need to actively help their children to avoid their victimization and to stop the instigators.
What Is Cyber Bullying
In the electronic age, bullying has moved online. Facebook, Twitter and a myriad of other social media outlets have given way to new platforms for kids to berate each other. With excessive photo and location sharing, our teens’ lives are put online for everyone to see, as it is the “cool” thing to do.
Stopbullying.gov has a list of three reasons why cyber violence is different from the sort that parents are more familiar with:
- Cyber violence can happen at any time of the day. Unlike what happens at school or local places, the kids experience it at home, too.
- All posts or messages online can be sent and viewed worldwide. They can also be anonymous and very difficult to trace.
- Because of the way everything is saved, even deleting messages, tweets and posts does not ensure the harmful posts are really gone.
These actions can start because of arguments that start at school or online. At school, there is a chance for witnesses. However, online, someone can create a fake profile and say whatever they want. Tech savvy individuals can learn to hide their traces.
There is also the issue of sexting. With smart phones, conversations can make it out to the world much easier. These conversations can be used to shame those that have been either tricked or had argued with their boyfriend/ girlfriend. Private pictures teenagers send can be abused, and can make it onto any number of websites very quickly.
What Does Cyber Violence Cause?
With the posts, stories and pictures available for anyone to view worldwide, cyber violence can impact kids rather negatively. The effects can be really fast, reaching into areas that parents have a hard time getting to. Therefore, parents have to keep an eye on what is going on with their kids at all times.
- As with children suffering from regular bullying, there is a chance that the victim could turn to alcohol and drug abuse. As always, these must be guarded at home.
- Make sure of the location of your child. Skipping school could be another way to avoid being ridiculed. In case the instigators are their schoolmates, kids don’t want to have to face the ones causing their torment.
- When kids are seen as vulnerable online, they could face bullying from other kids they attend school with. It could lead to them facing physical and verbal violence.
- Kids who dread going to school will also avoid doing schoolwork or do badly at it. Their grades and attendance could suffer dramatically.
- A child could start being affected by depression and low self-esteem. That can lead to suicidal thoughts and self-harmful behavior.
- Kids being bullied could stop wanting to use cellphones, computers and tablets. This can cause kids to quit being sociable, leading to severing ties with people they know. This could make issues even worse.
How To Spot A Bully
While parents definitely do not want their kids to be victims of cyber violence, they also do not want them to be the bully. Going with the crowd to be cool or finding bullying fun can lead to adopting the behavior. Parents must also be vigilant for their kids attacking others.
- Kids who bully will hide what they are doing from their parents. Keep an eye out for secretive kids or those hiding their online activity frequently.
- The bully will be abnormally upset from losing their smartphone or internet privileges. The loss might cause them to strike out and be belligerent in other ways.
- The bully may have multiple accounts. They may also have a wish to be more competent with computers than the normal kid.
Help Fight Cyber Violence
Cyber violence can be very dangerous for its victims. A child will need their family and friends to help them stop what is happening. While all parents wish their child never becomes a victim, sometimes the best efforts won’t stop the occurrence. That is why there needs to be clear knowledge of how to help.
- Be aware at all times. Your child will need someone to turn to, especially when they feel alone.
- Your kid may not like it, but a parent needs to monitor communications. Kids can be so much more tech savvy than adults, so the parent needs to learn how to stay on top of the online game. Learning this is an act of love, not being nosy.
- Keep kids from being too caught up with being connected too much. Take them to whatever events they enjoy, spend family time or find other ways to spend time with them. Internet addiction can take your kids to dark places, especially towards cyber violence.
- Be open with the child going through the experience. Openness will heal or prevent bad feelings that could lead to depression or suicide. Them trusting you could also lead to you knowing when their friends and acquaintances are suffering from cyber bullying attacks.
- Set rules and enforce them. Order and discipline can create an environment where the kid never will feel the need to shut themselves away if they are bullied. They will feel protected, as long as there is still openness.
- Educate your child about acceptable behavior. This will help them know what sort of behavior is appropriate or not. It can also help in knowing when their friends are victims of cyber violence. You, as a parent and a responsible adult, can help stop it.
How To Report Cyber Bullying
If cyber bullying does occur, it needs to be reported to the authorities. There are many online guides on finding how to find and save the information that the police and schools will need. In short, here is what you need to do:
- Do not respond to direct messages or posts. Do not forward them either.
- Keep an accurate record, including times and dates. Make sure to print as much as possible.
- Look through terms and conditions of service providers and social media sites if bullying occurs. They may help with the situation.
- Block the people who try to bully your child.
- If laws are violated, contact local law enforcement immediately. No underage child should be asked for pictures, especially nude ones. Threats of violence, hate crimes and stalking are all illegal and should be reported.
- If the bully or bullies are fellow classmates, report them to school authorities. If proof shows them to be at another school, go to the school board for assistance.
We also offer you a comprehensive guide provides you with a complete Cheat-Sheet to fight cyber violence.