In every four children will experience cyberbullying. However, since it happens online, it can remain a painful secret for a very long time. So, how can you know if your tween or teen is a victim of cyberbullying?
Parents should also be aware of the following warning signs:
- There’s a major change in the amount of texts and social media in your child’s life. Some victims will distance themselves from social media while others will check it obsessively.
- Many victims of social media will become more secretive. Many will hide their screen if a parent comes near, or change their passwords on the affected websites.
- Many victims will appear angry or sad immediately after receiving a text message.
- Many victims will become moody and distant.
- As the bullies are often members of the same community, many victims will begin avoiding school or deteriorate academically.
- Many victims will lose sleep or appetite.
The best way to know if your child is being cyberbullied is good communication. Make sure your child knows she can trust you and come to you with any problem. If you have any suspicion, especially one triggered by the warning signs, don’t be afraid to ask directly whether anyone has been mean to them, offline or online.
Parents should also be involved in their children’s online life. Parents should ensure access to their children’s social media and email, and it is better to establish this level of access in advance than to ensure if after the damage has already occurred.
One of the best ways to ensure your child’s safety is to install an anti-cyberbullying software, such as Monocle. Programs such as this will monitor your child’s online activity and alert you to any sign of cyberbullying. These programs have the advantage of being comprehensive. Unlike parents, those programs will usually be up to date with the later social media outlets, ones that the parents might not be aware of.