According to StopBullying.gov, an official website of the United States government, cyberbullying can be defined as “sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else” and takes place “over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets…through SMS, Text, and apps, or online in social media, forums, or gaming where people can view, participate in, or share content.”
Usually, this causes victims to feel embarrassed, humiliated, or unsafe. So how can you know if your own child is a victim? Here are some tips to help you parent in a digital age.
Everyone wants to show off their presents during the holidays, and while some are totally fine to share–like toys, clothes, and most other tangible items–others, like gift cards and event tickets, are best left unphotographed. A good rule of thumb is anything with either your personal information or information that can be used to redeem something digitally shouldn’t be shared. Think of it this way: Tangible items = okay, experiential gifts = better left unshared.
Your child seems nervous or uneasy.
If you notice your child seems nervous when receiving text messages or looking at social media, this could be a sign that someone is using these means to bully him/her. Furthermore, if your child seems uneasy about going to school, or makes an excuse in order to stay home, this could be another warning sign.
Not open about online activity.
In this day and age, it’s important that parents are at least somewhat involved in their children’s online lives. Whether a routine review of security settings or what content they’re sharing, if your child seems hesitant to allow you to see their online activity, this may be a clue that someone has posted something about your child that s/he doesn’t want you to see.
Upset after using devices/social media/gaming.
If your child is visually upset after a session of gaming, checking out social media on his/her phone, or signing in to read an email, it’s possible someone is cyberbullying him/her. If you notice this, ask if someone online has sent them something inappropriate or threatened him/her, and how your child would like you to help/support him/her.