Cyber Bullying: Don’t let your child suffer in silence

cyber bullying

It’s a trend of Social Media and WhatsApp. Even a kid of 3rd class knows how to handle a multimedia device. Kids these days can operate a cell phone quite better.

Computers, cell phones, and tablets are the main equipment used for Cyber Bullying. Anything, which can be operated on the internet, is used for cyberbullying. Messages, MMS, posts, texts, videos or images can be used to harass someone. Kids are the easiest target. A Very famous incident occurred a few days back, known by the world, Blue Whale game. Its target was mainly kids, who do not think before acting. Innocent kids thought it was just an ordinary game like others for entertainment purposes, but it was not. The game ends with the life of the player. Yes, you heard it right, it’s a suicide game, once started can’t be left in between. As per the rules of the game, you can’t quit. Children played this and performed all the tasks including the last one, which was to end your life.

So, what exactly is Cyber Bullying?

When some teen, pre-teen or child embarrass, harass, humiliate, torture or torment any other child, pre-teen or teen by using the Internet or digital technology is considered as Cyber Bullying.

This doesn’t need to be something as serious as discussed above. It can be even a simple incident, let’s say, the child has received an inappropriate or harsh response to his post on FB can be a case of cyberbullying as well. There could be other incidents as well like a simple joke can feel insulting to the other one, or a picture taken for fun uploaded on social media can be a humiliating activity as well.

Recent studies found that 1 out of 4 children is a victim of cyberbullying. Moreover, Children are not comfortable to talk to their parents about their problems. This hesitation might increase with time and they might feel trapped in a situation where they may feel that there is no escape.

Earlier, there was a time, when there was no internet. Kids were bullied only in schools by either their seniors or batch mates. Therefore, it was limited to certain place and for a limited time. With the advancement of internet and electronic gadgets, this bullying can now be continued for 24 hours and everywhere.

Signs of Cyber Bullying in kids:

  • Emotionally upset after excessing a particular service like using internet or cell phone.
  • Secret behaviour or possessive behaviour towards their digital life.
  • Being alone or isolated from others most of the time.
  • Going down in studies for no particular reason.
  • Not showing interest in any gatherings of family or friends.
  • Sudden mood swings like anger or frustration for no big reason.
  • Not showing interest in electronic gadgets or internet access.
  • Change in natural behaviour from calm to aggressive.
  • Change in behaviour or getting nervous after receiving any notifications on internet accounts.
  • Not having proper meals or eating in excess, lack of sleep and stressed all the time.
  • Showing signs of depression and low self-esteem.
  • Self-harming physically or taking drugs or alcohol.
  • Avoiding talking about computers or social networking.
  • Health problems at an early age.

The above-discussed signs can be easily visible in a child if parents take out some time for their kids.

What actions should Parents take?

As children are not very comfortable in opening up to their parents about these problems, it’s the duty of the parents to notice such changes in their children and try talking to them, making them feel that they are not alone and will be supported whatever the situation is. Children don’t open up as a matter of fact that they believe it’s their fault as well in the situation they are stuck with. To avoid being judged and scolding, they prefer to hide their feelings to them.

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Apart from being supportive, parents can take few steps to help their kids keep a distance from such activities:

  • If it is at school, let the school authority know about it. So that required action is taken. Let your child know about your plan; don’t make it a surprise for him/her.
  • Make them learn to avoid such situations and not to respond to any such activities. Tell your children to keep the things saved, so that these could be used as evidence if required later.
  • Block the bully from your account.
  • Have parental control over the things your children can access through the internet.
  • Make them learn how to be safe online, how to choose their passwords which are difficult to hack, never share their present location while posting anything, never post that they are alone at some place, even if it is their own home.

Help from Psychologist:

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Apart from efforts done at home, parents can also seek help from psychologists. It’s no harm in seeking help if you are not able to help your child. Therapies can be provided to improve the mental health of the child.

There are some cases where the child is getting bullied but he/she can’t quit because of the addiction of that thing such as chatting. In such a case, a therapy is very useful.

Not only a victim requires help, but also a person who bullies others is also not well mentally, and can also seek help from a psychologist and go through therapy to make him mentally healthy.

Therapies are very healthy to recover from a mental situation. These can be individual sessions or group sessions where people with similar experiences share their stories and help each other in healing.

A little attention can save your child:

Get time from your busy schedule and talk to your child every day. Make your kids feel you are there for them no matter what. If you notice any unnatural behaviour in your child, don’t ignore it considering it as an age factor, it could be much more than that. Try to be friendly with your children and have a knowledge about their stuff whether it is offline or online. Your child is your responsibility. A mentally unhealthy person can’t grow physically well too. Take necessary steps and be with your child at every step.

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