The 10 Warning Signs of Cyberbullying

Sep 29, 2016

There are so many gadgets and gizmos out for sale right now, and many advertise that they are safe and “kid friendly,” or will encourage learning in your children. While that may be true for certain devices, with the rapid advancement of mobile technology and the increased demand, many children are being given access to mobile devices at a young age. What many parents sometimes are unaware is that access to these devices has the potential to create a dangerous scenario for children and teens; cyber bullying. It has been reported that up to 43% of children have been victims of cyber bullying at some point in their lives. And up to 58% of those kids have NOT told their parents. It is important for parents to pay attention to their children’s behavior on and off their devices in order to prevent such dangerous situations. Below are 10 tips for parents to be aware of to help spot the warning signs of cyber bullying:

  1. Uneasy, nervous or scared about going to school or outsideThis is a major warning sign that your child is uncomfortable in their school environment and being around their classmates. Some other signs to look out for are if your child continuously asks you if they can skip school by staying home or if they make calls asking to come home early during the school day.

  2. Nervous or jumpy when receiving a text, or on social media while using their device Does your child and they become extremely anxious about their phone, tablet or laptop, especially if you are in view of the device? Keeping devices in commonly used areas is an easy way to help prevent this, while maintaining a watchful eye.

  3. Upset or frustrated after going online – this includes gaming!Have you ever witnessed your child get so angry at what is happening on screen that they have slammed their device shut or even thrown it mid-use? This outburst of anger can be a red flag when it comes to what others are saying to your child, as they do this as a way to try and distance themselves from the bullying.

  4. Unwilling to discuss or share information about their online accounts and activity.Increased secretiveness is another big warning sign when it comes to online bullying. Children will try to hide what is going on in order to keep it quite as many are afraid to speak out, especially to parents. Having a family contract that establishes rules for your children and their online passwords and accounts is just another way to help protect them for bullying and give you, as parents, some piece of mind.

  5. Unexplained weight loss or weight gain, headaches, stomachaches, or trouble eating.Health related symptoms like these are just some of the many ways bullying can take its physical toll on a child. Signs like this are what parents really need to be aware of, because if they continue for a long period of time things can go downhill very fast.

  6. Trouble sleeping at night or sleepy during the entire dayRestlessness is a huge factor when it comes to cyberbullying. Children are unable to sleep because they are tormented by what the cyberbullies are saying about them. This fatigue can then affect the child throughout the rest of the day, making their school day even harder, as they attempt to deal with schoolwork and classmates.

  7. Loss of interest in favorite hobbies or activitiesIf your child has always loved a sport or hobby and has suddenly lost all interest in it, it may be a big warning sign towards them being a victim of cyberbullying. They may be trying to distance themselves from something that others are making fun of them for, or they are making an attempt to fit in. But talk with your child, and continue to encourage them to do what makes them happy, not others.

  8. Child seems regularly depressed or anti-social If your child seems to be severely unhappy, and only wants to be in their room by themselves, it could be a warning sign. To boost their mood, try planning a family outing or even a game night to get them up and out of their room. This will also let you child know that your family is there for them.

  9. Withdrawn from close friends and family This withdraw could be an attempt to push people away and distance everyone in the child’s life, especially those doing the bullying. Make sure that the child knows you are there for them if they want to talk about anything.

  10. Making passing statements about suicide or making a suicide attemptThis is an immediate red flag when it comes to being a victim of cyberbullying. These signs should not be taken lightly! If this continues, get the school or other professionals involved, and make sure your child knows that your action is all because you are trying to help them.

As a parent, it can be hard to recognize these signs of cyberbullying, compared to the normal symptoms of “teenage angst” without becoming a helicopter parent who is overly anxious and suspicious about what your child is doing on their mobile device. One or two of these signs may not be suspect, but if your child begins to display a multitude of these signs that’s when the red flags should go up. But, have no fear there are many ways to help protect your entire family from it ever getting that far. With tools like Net Nanny Social available, parents can monitor their children’s Social Media use to protect against cyberbullying in the future.