Cyber bullying is the use of technology to harass, threaten, embarrass, or target another person.
Effects of cyber bullying
Bullying is no longer a school-yard issue, modern-day bullying can happen at home as well as at school and 24 hours a day.
Cyber bullying can cause significant emotional and psychological distress for a child. Just like any other victim of bullying, cyber bullied children experience anxiety, fear, depression, and low self-esteem.
What Is cyber bullying?
Make sure your child understands that if someone spreads rumors about them online, posts fake profiles of them or sends him mean messages or comments, that’s bullying.
Some of the Signs of cyber bullying to look out for
- being emotionally upset during or after being online
- being very secretive or protective of their phone/tablet/laptop
- withdrawal from family members, friends, and activities
- avoiding school or group gatherings
- changes in mood, behavior, sleep, or appetite
- seems nervous or jumpy when they get an instant message (snap-chat whats-app), text or email.
How parents can help
Your child may not tell you if he’s being cyber bullied, but there are signs you can watch out for:
- If you discover that your child is being cyber bullied, offer comfort and support.
- Let your child know that it’s not his or her fault, and that bullying says more about the bully than the victim.
- Praise your child for doing the right thing by talking to you about it. Remind your child that they are not alone
- Let someone at school know about the situation. Often they will have a policy if the bullying is also happening in the school.
- Encourage your child not to respond to cyber bullying
- Keep any threatening messages, pictures, and texts, as these can be used as evidence with the bully’s parents, school and the gardai/police
- Block the bully. Most devices have settings that allow you to electronically block people
- Learn about ways to keep your kids safe online. Encourage them to safeguard passwords and to never post their address or whereabouts
- Counselling can help your child to safely talk about their experience
If you would like professional support with anything you are going through turn2me provides free, confidential online supports for young people and adults in the Republic of Ireland.
- Peer support – A free and safe space where you can find and give support by connecting with other people who have been through similar experiences.
- Group support -Facilitated by a mental health professional, support groups are a safe space to connect with others and share solutions and coping strategies on a variety of mental health topics.
- Counselling – Support for whatever you are going through, this is a safe space to talk with a professional counsellor to help you understand your feelings and work together to develop the tools you need to get through tough times.