Cyber-bullying is more dangerous than traditional bullying. In this case, the victim has no place to hide as the bullying takes place through communication tools including social media platforms, text messages, chat, and websites. When a child gets bullied at school or somewhere else, at least he/she knows who the bully is. But an anonymous cyber-bully can relentlessly prevent the child to escape from it. The assault can happen 24x7 and not restricted to specific location. This can cause great emotional turmoil for the victim. Worse than physical assault, cyber-bullying can affect and damage a child’s self-esteem.
This year, 2017 witnessed the nasty consequences of cyber-bullying through the infamous ‘Blue Whale’ game. So, it’s not hard to realize how deep the root of cyber-bullying is. The victim can be targeted through Facebook and other social media websites. For kids and teenagers, the internet is the medium for socialization. Social interaction is supposed to be positive and encouraging but increasing numbers of kids are intimidated and harassed through social media. Private group chat, forums, online gaming sites are the platforms where users can remain almost anonymous and this allows cyber-bullies to continually attack their victims.
Cyber-bullying includes emotional abuse, stalking, harassment, sharing personal information or photos, videos, spreading the rumor, defaming, impersonating etc.
According to Cyber-bullying statistics (http://www.bullyingstatistics.org) from the i-SAFE foundation:
So, how to know if your child is being bullied online?
Kids and teens are susceptible because they tend to hide it from their parents as being warned by the bullies. 58% victims are scared to confess the incident to their parents (http://resources.uknowkids.com). So, it is an important part of parenting to recognize the signs of cyber-bullying. Pay attention to these signs:
Cyber-bullying can have a long-term effect on children. Their grades may suffer, confidence may damage, depression can set in, health issues can increase and many more negative effects can step in. Pay attention to understand that something is going wrong in their world. If you notice the above-mentioned signs in your child, time to talk to them.
What to do if your child is being bullied online?
Since most of the cyber-bullying is inflicted upon a child without the presence of adult supervision, the consequences are far-reaching. Never hesitate to report and offer your support if you notice anything such is taking place. Cyber-bullying is often brushed aside by the parents as "regular children behavior". But parents must take note of every single behavior of the child to make sure he/she is not being a victim.