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How Do You Tell If Your Child Has Been Cyber Bullied?

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Why kids don't tell parents they're being cyber bullied

Children can be worried or embarrassed to admit that someone is being unkind to them online. They can often feel ashamed. Ensure you tell them about times when you have experienced it to ensure that they feel like 'they are not alone'.

Also, they often don't know what constitutes 'cyber bullying' - they may not understand the term at all or they may think someone being unkind to them on social media isn't bad enough for it to be considered cyber bullying. Ensure they know what constitutes cyber bullying and that they can talk to you about any degree of unkindness they experience online (whether they are the victim or just a witness).

For your reference, cyber bullying can be defined as;

Any form of online behaviour which purposely makes someone else feel uncomfortable or sad. It takes place online or through smartphones and tablets. Social networking sites, messaging apps, gaming sites and chat rooms such as Facebook, XBox Live, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat and other chat rooms can be great fun and a positive experience.  

 

Speaking to your child about cyber bullying

Medical research papers found long ago that children are only able to have a short-sighted view of risk as they interpret risk completely differently to adults. They see it as a measure of how much something bothers them (i.e. makes them feel uncomfortable or upset), rather than an assessment of the likelihood of something happening against the potential impacts of that event materialising.

As a result, speaking to our kids about 'cyber bullying' is likely to invoke a room of blank looks. Not only because the terminology is something they don't associate with but because they don't see online risk in the same way that us adults do.

So we need to change our tac and language to suit - focus on their feelings. Try the following;

  • Has anything you've seen online ever made you feel unhappy or worried?
  • Has anyone ever said anything horrible or unkind to you online?
  • Do people ever make you sad with what they write online?

 

Signs of cyber bullying

If you're still sure something untoward is going on, watch out for the following early warning signals for cyber bullying;

  • They stop using their devices in communal areas.
  • They suddenly delete their social media profiles.
  • They start blocking a number of people.
  • They are exhausted, having difficulty sleeping, or show less interest in eating compared to normal.
  • They’re reluctant going to school or leaving the house.
  • They fall behind in school work.
  • They become withdrawn to their room or within themselves.

Still unsure? Sometimes life doesn't fall nicely into categories, like those listed above. Ask one of our experts here and we'll get back to you within 24hrs.

 

Worried about your child?

If you're concerned about one of your children, get in contact and speak to one of our internet safety experts within our SimpleCyberLife.com community here.

We're always happy to help and there are always things that can be done to help improve things quite quickly. For more advanced cases, there's also a wealth of resources and organisations who can help and we can point you in the right direction.

Book a free consultation with one of our internet safety experts here.

 

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