Cyber bullying has become the avenue of choice for many bullies. By using the internet they can attack their victims at any time of day, without revealing their identity and without others being aware that it is even happening. Bullies can hide behind fake profiles and gain the confidence of their victim. Once they have their victim where they want them, they can do whatever they want without fear of detection. They play on their victim’s fear for themselves and families to prevent them from going to the proper authorities. Knowing what to look for on the computer or cell phone and what signs your child may exhibit if they are being bullied will help you uncover the predator and prevent further instances of bullying. So, Is Your Student Bullied?
Is Your Student Bullied? He Avoids using cell phones or computers – If a student who normally spends most of their time on their computer or cell phone, all of a sudden wants to have as little to do with it as possible, it may indicate they are the victims of a cyber bully. Teens today are used to getting text messages and emails on a continuing basis. If they suddenly seem afraid to open a message or won’t answer a phone call, something may be going on that you need to check out.
Bullies will often text or email their victims at times when they know they will get the biggest response. If you see your child begin to withdraw from their phone or not want to use the computer, it may be a clear sign that a bully is confronting them online. Don’t let cyber bullying get out of hand. Once you know what is going on, contact the proper authorities immediately.
Is Your Student Bullied? He has Changes in behavior – Students who are being bullied, both online and in the physical sense will often exhibit drastic changes in behavior. They may become moody or depressed. Some isolate themselves away from others, spending time in their bedrooms or just trying to be alone. Normally happy children, may become angry and irritable, snapping at younger siblings or exhibiting violent outbursts.
Students who are bullied may let their appearance fall by the wayside. Girls may stop wearing makeup and boys may become withdrawn and try to make themselves blend into the landscape. Some students who had once kept a clean room or organized their homework, may begin to let things accumulate and stop picking up after themselves.
Is Your Student Bullied? Changes in grades – With the majority of school work being assigned and turned in via digital format, cyber bullying can dramatically affect a student’s academic performance. Students who refuse to get online or check for assignments for fear of what they will find waiting on them, will fall behind in their classwork. Refusing to access assignments sent over the computer can lead to missed assignment deadlines and poor research grades.
Cyber bullies have figured out that they can affect a student in many more ways by using the internet as a tool for their benefit. What better way to victimize a straight A student than to take away the one place where they feel secure. By using the computer, the bully can target the student academically taking away the one thing they believe they are truly good at.
Is Your Student Bullied? He Becomes Overly Secretive – If a student becomes overly sensitive about certain topics or refuses to answer questions concerning the time they spend on their cell phones or computers, a parent may want to look in on what is happening. With the increase of academic subject matter being relayed through emails and class websites, many parents have allowed students to have computers in their rooms. While this is not necessarily a bad thing, it does prevent the parent from being able to view what their child is doing online in real time.
When a student becomes evasive about what they are doing while on the computer or changes screens as a parent enters the room, it could single something out of the ordinary is going on. Most students who are doing homework online have little concern with whether or not their parents know what they are doing. The majority will readily tell their parents what they are doing and a few may go into detail.
Is Your Student Bullied? Learn to Investigate – If there have been signs that a student may be receiving threats or harassing messages online or through text messages, parents need to investigate the situation. Talk to the student first. Students who have positive relationships with their parents may admit to the cyber bullying. If the student does not want to talk about it or tells you they have it under control, talk to their friends. Most students will confide in a close friend.
Monitor your student’s behavior and various levels of activity, especially the time spent on their cell phones and computers. If the bullying continues or begins to escalate, subtle signs will begin to appear. Talk to your child’s teachers to find out if anyone else in the class has had a problem with bullies, either online or on the school grounds. While most bullies, usually single out one person at a time, a few may choose to bully several at once.
Is Your Student Bullied? Use parental controls – If talking to your student does not provide answers, you may want to consider using parental controls. Both cell phones and laptops have the capabilities of monitoring internet activity. New computers are equipped with several parental controls which monitor which sites children visit. They can also prevent them from accessing sites that are of a questionable nature.
Keyloggers can help parents read what their students are sending out through emails. Although these programs can seem beneficial they do have their drawbacks and should only be used when necessary. Students also consider these methods to be a breach of their privacy and are oftentimes quite upset when they discover their parents have used them. It’s often the best scenario to handle things directly with your child through direct and honest forms of communication.