No parent would want his or her child to be bullied. Being embarrassed, threatened, or ganged up on is too much for any kid who just wants to go through life normally. A child’s life however, can be forever changed when they are subjected to bullying. The reason for bullying isn’t even justified and many parents are bewildered why bullying persists. What’s more frightening is that it has even become more threatening with the emergence of cyber bullying. It is bullying done over the Internet, usually through social media sites, and other devices like mobile phones. Real life bullying ends when school ends, but in cyber bullying, it doesn’t stop and you have no escape.
Types of Cyber Bullying
There are several types of cyber bullying done in varying degrees of harm to victims online.
• Threatening – Making threats on the Internet or implied violence to the victim. Suicidal tendencies that can be cleverly disguised tormenting the victim are a form of cyber bullying.
• Making Rumors – Sending or spreading false gossip pertaining to the victim to damage his relationship with his/her loved ones. Can be posted through Face book , Twitter and sending messages through SMS or voicemail to victims’ mobile devices.
• Stealing someone’s identity – a cyber bully can make an account in Facebook posing as the victim and fill it with vulgar photos or making rude status postings to ruin his/ her reputation. The bully can even access the victim’s own account by stealing his/ her password and post offensive comments about the victim’s loved ones with a view to damaging cordial relationships both personal and online.
• Exclusion – Deliberately not inviting the victim in an online group.
• Harassment – Continually posting hateful and insulting comments or messages in the victim’s FB page or cell phone.
• Outing and Trickery – Deceiving someone into revealing their secrets only to share them online.
The effects of cyber bullying manifest in the way victims commonly behave. Knowing about them can help you spot peculiar behavior among victims and thus enable practical intervention. The following are some indications that your child might be a victim of cyber bullying:
• Hesitant to be online, gets worried when an email, text message or instant message appears.
• Visibly upset after using the computer or cell phone.
• A notable drop in his/her school grades.
• Marked change in behavior and becoming moody or cries a lot.
• Trouble sleeping and loss of appetite.
• Hides or clears the computer screen or phone in your presence.
Cyber Bullying and Suicide
In the recent years, there has been a significant increase in suicide cases across the globe due to cyber bullying. Since a majority of victims happen to be teenagers, they aren’t expected to be mature enough to handle this situation. When cyber bullying worsens, the more teenagers get depressed and look for a way out.
They think that taking their life is the only way to end their misery not knowing they can get support from their loved ones. They feel embarrassed to tell this to their parents fearing they wouldn’t understand.
Losing precious young lives to cyber bullying has gotten several global organizations to take steps up to stop all forms of bullying. You can do the same at home. As a parent it is also your responsibility to guide your children so that they can cope with this online menace.
What parents can do
• Promote open-mindedness and respect among your children
• Talk to your children about bullying and explain the negative issues that accompany it.
• Help your children explore their skills to develop self-esteem.
• Watch your children for the warning signs if they are being bullied so that you can take appropriate measures.
• If bullying is already being done, act immediately and call the proper authorities. Support your child in their fight against being bullying.
• If it is a schoolmate who is bullying your child, contact the school and inform them of the situation. Take part in the ensuing proceedings once the school acts on the information.