Cyberbullying is a serious problem that has affected over 200, 000 school children. Most of these children are aged between 11-13. Just like ordinary bullies, cyberbullies usually displace their frustrations and anger on vulnerable targets that seem weaker than themselves. A cyberbully will always pick on victims that appear different from them, who are unable to defend themselves.
The most common places where your child can come across cyberbullies are social media, gaming chats, and email. In this article, we’ll tell you 5 most important things about cyberbullying which will help you defend your kids from it. Let’s start with the basics.
- Why cyberbullying exists?
With regards to cyberbullying, sometimes it’s difficult to say why exactly people start doing it. Cyberbullies are often motivated by different elements which usually include revenge, anger, and frustration.
Other reasons why kids do it include boosting their social status, increasing the audience of their social media accounts, and standing up for their friends who were bullied. The research shows that almost 75% of students admit that they have visited a website bashing another student at least once. Some do it unknowingly or without thinking of the consequences.
First signs of cyberbullying were spotted back at the 1990s with the arrival of affordable PC’s. But, as it becomes a huge problem ever since, several US states took measures and enacted laws to regulate cyberbullying. Nevertheless, the cyberbullying still exists, as new gadgets and technologies make it possible with their availability and anonymity.
Anonymous web presence still provides the perfect cover for some users to harass, bully, and intimidate others without any aftermath. The most common patterns of cyberbullies behavior show that attention-hungry kids participate in cyberbullying to become more popular while the brainy kids do it mostly for revenge.
All scenarios described above cause cyberbullying, and the motives, response, and solutions differ. Let’s dig in another direction – why kids are those who are more vulnerable to cyberbullying?
- Why kids are getting more cyberbullied?
There are various reasons why children are prone to bullying. Some of them include peer pressure, being unhappy, upset or worried about the situation in their family. The main reason why children are the main targets is that they are only learning how to accept and express themselves. Their self-esteem in that period greatly depends on social opinion and the things that other people say about them.
Some resources foundings tell that only 16 percent of cyberbullies are feeling guilty after their actions, another research has found that kids who are involved in cyberbullying have less empathy. Most kids who participate in cyberbullying even not aware that they are insulting their fellow children.
When posting offensive words and photos online, children don’t consider the impact of their actions on others. But it’s not working vise versa when it comes to the things they find offensive in words of their fellows. Social communication and empathy are vital skills that kids need to learn and cyberbullying can twist these lessons.
- What can you do to prevent your kid from being cyberbullied?
As a parent, you need to educate your kids about the dangers and threats on the Internet; let your children know what cyberbullying is and how they can deal with it. Before giving them your knowledge and thoughts, listen to them and know what they think, like and perceive when it comes to cyberbullying. This will give you ideas of whether they know about cyberbullying or not.
To prevent cyberbullying you can use apps and software, like KidGuard. Learning how to monitor your child’s online activity will help you to spot when there are any signs of suspicious or harmful behavior towards your kid.
The main thing parents should do to prevent their kids from being bullied is to build their kids’ trust and let them know that they are safe and guarded. Kids will comfortably tell you if whenever they confront cyberbullying only if they trust their parents and know that they are more friends and not the judges.
- What if cyberbullying it’s already happening?
Children suffering from cyberbullying generally go through hell because most of them are young and just learning to deal with difficult situations. Children don’t have the experience of fighting off the bullies, nor the ability to express the pain that they’re going through. Research of Nottingham Trent University (NTU) shows that young people usually are informed of the risks of cyberbullying but mostly consider others as being those who are more at risk than themselves.
That is why recognizing the signs of cyberbullying in time is essential. Suffering from cyberbullying is an extremely regressive syndrome. Cyberbullying could hamper a child’s social skills and learning abilities. If your child is suffering from cyberbullying, his/her academic performance will be affected, and the child will no longer be inclined towards games, studies or other activities that are usual for him/her.
The kid will also socialize less with family and friends, spend less time online or tend to be jumpy whenever they receive a text or emails. Moreover, the kid will show signs of lowered self-esteem, anxiety, embarrassment, sadness, and even depression.
- How to fight off cyberbullies?
If you have evidence that your kid is being bullied online there are a few things you can do about it. First of all, contact your attorney and consult on legal ways to deal with cyberbullying.
Sometimes it’s hard to recognize who is the bully, as the Internet gives almost limitless possibility for anonymous users to harass others. The second thing that you can do If you found any piece of information on the bully is to check on this person. You can use online services like reverse phone lookup or email finder to learn more about the bully.
After doing a reverse phone lookup on your kids’ offender, start guiding him/her on how to manage Internet usage and their gadgets. This will have covered a considerable chunk in stopping the cyberbullies. As they say “The one who owns information, owns the world”. Sometimes it means that those who prepared with accurate information own peace and harmony of their state of mind.
Last but not least, give your children emotional guidance and support, whenever you feel like they need it. As were said above – be the friend and not the judge. Educate him/her about social media and the threats they might face. Teach them the dangers of adding untrusted friends and strangers to their social network and how to secure information on their social media.
Lastly, it’s essential to ensure that you raise your kid with a good common sense of reporting incidences like bullying. Teach your kids to ignore cyber bullies and tell them to ask for your assistance whenever they want to resolve a cyberbullying incident. This knowledge will help you keep your kids safe and give them needed guidance on how to deal with difficult situations.
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