Online bullying - How Parents can help their children

Have you ever been bullied before? Right, that wasn’t undoubtedly great at all. But, have you as a parent, imagine how your child could also possibly encounter bullying?  
That sounds terrifying for any parent! So, how can you prevent your child from being bullied, and how will you protect them from those harmful kids?
What is bullying today?
Bullying in the old times is usually happening at school, neighbourhood, or even on playgrounds. So, children consider home as their safety zone. However, the 21st-century world implies worse bullying cases due to 24/7 access to victims, in or out of the house. How?
Today, bullies can attack their victims anytime and anywhere - not physically, but virtually. They can use online bullying to target other kids. This kind of bullying is known as “cyberbullying.”
What is online bullying and why it is dangerous?
Cyberbullying is another type of bullying that occurs using digital media. All online activities that can harm and cause harassment, humiliation, and extortion are part of cyberbullying. Moreover, cyberbullying is regularly present on social media accounts and other digital platforms. 
Like traditional bullying, cyberbullying can also affect the child’s physical, mental, social, and emotional health. It may lead to several issues that will hinder a kid’s personality development. Other than that, cyberbullying can bring phobia, excessive fear, lack of confidence, and other central and minor effects. 
What are the examples of cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying can involve intentional intimidation through social media. It can also happen by sending unflattering, disturbing, and hostile messages online. Even posting pictures and comments on someone using their accounts covers cyberbullying. Moreover, cyberstalking and cyber-harassment are behaviours under this matter. 
Simple acts bring out cyberbullying. For example, a teenager can simply send a threatening message to their classmate. Then, the victim might get frightened by its single message. This kind of peer pressure using digital devices is hugely part of cyberbullying. 
Moreover, a kid who posted an embarrassing photo of their peer online and other kids who commented and reacted to the post contributed to cyberbullying. 
Through these quick activities, kids can get involved as a cyberbully and a victim. 
No doubt you’ll never want these kinds of acts to happen to your child. 
Why is cyberbullying widespread?
Boys and girls of any age, particularly children, pre-teens, and teens, can experience cyberbullying. Numerous reports are sent to teachers, parents, and law enforcers to prevent this matter. However, about half of the cyberbullying attacks are still not reported. 
The massive cyberbullying issue is very prevalent today due to day and night access to social media. Cyberbullies can easily and instantly open their accounts and attack their peers without any hassles. They can just use photos, videos, or even powerful words to comment on lies and hurtful statements. And since these cyberbullies operate online, they can easily hide their own identities and in turn, get away with their cyberbullying.
Moreover, kids who are into cyberbullying can also attack just anybody. They can use their harassing posts and comments to different social media platforms. for a wide range of audiences to see. Cyberbullies feel safe and sound at home doing these activities especially if they're alone, making them braver to do these unlawful acts. They can also use anonymous accounts to cyberbully anyone. It makes them more fearless to use bold language and inappropriate messages, making it harder for authorities to determine who they are.
Why do kids cyberbully?
Kids become a bully for different surprising reasons. No one is born a bully, but there are primary reasons why they do these terrible things. 
Some children have emotional issues. They want to get others’ attention. They could also belittle others to build their self-esteem and be accepted by society. They might also hurt others to feel powerful over others. Sometimes, jealousy, hate, rejection, and revenge are the reasons why they cyberbully others.
One primary reason is that they are enjoying making fun of others. It may be due to the lack of guidance from parents, teachers, and authorities. They might acquire these tripping to unfavourable examples and situations they encountered in life. 
These cyber bullies could also be victims before. They are not the enemy here, but also another victim in terms of the child’s personality development.
Who cyberbullies who?
Cyberbullies attack girls more than boys. According to a study, girls are three times more likely to be victims of cyberbullying. Other than that, these bullies are also obsessed with computers or the internet, which leads them to screen addiction. These cyberbullies also want to take control of situations and are aggressive to their peers. 
Some personality issues involve a cyberbully. They are disrespectful of others, easily angered, abusive of a peer, and attention-seekers. They might receive these qualities due to a parent’s lack of support, a family problem, or someone who also cyberbullied them. These cyberbullies might have experienced name-calling, blaming, and threats beforehand so they tend to attack others.
As for the victims, they are commonly social outcasts of the group. They are getting cyberbullied because they don’t fit the mainstream or peers. Even physically and mentally challenged children can be victims of bullying. Other than that, teens with late puberty and maturity also receive unpleasant comments due to their slow physical development. 
Besides that, kids who follow the rules and instructions are getting bullied as they don’t join others. Smarter children also receive threats, and unflattering situations because others feel intimated by their grades and intelligence. 
There are other reasons that could possibly contribute to bullying children, but one of the top reasons is that children see others as weak individuals.  
How do kids cyberbully?
There are two different types of cyberbullying: direct and indirect. 
Direct. Cyberbully attacks the victim directly by sending messages and threats. It also involves stealing accounts, passwords, and profile or accusing the victim online. Spreading fake news, blogging to expose the victim, or uploading sexually-explicit posts are direct cyberbullying. Verbal harassment and accusation through videos and audio recordings are also part of this umbrella.
Indirect. Cyberbully attacks the victim with the help of others or anonymously whilst attacking the victim. They can use impersonation to threaten and harass the victim. They can also do hacking and manipulate the victim’s parents to punish the victim. They can again do “Report Abuse Wars” to ban the victim’s account on the site. Moreover, a cyberbully can indirectly send spam messages of hurtful comments and pornographic websites.
How do you know if your child is being cyberbullied?
Victims of cyberbullying often show signs in their emotional, social, physical, and mental health.
Mental/Emotional health. Children are depressed, anxious, and easily angered after using the internet. These kids might also feel scared, threatened, shame, and even lack self-confidence. 
Social health. Cyberbullied kids don’t want to go to school. They don’t want to socialise with people of their age or even other social situations. They prefer to be alone and turn themselves to be secretive and mysterious when online activities are topics.
Physical health. These kids have bad eating and sleeping habits. They might use alcohol and drugs to overcome the issue. 
Academic performance. Victims’ grades are slipping, and their exams and homework fail instantly. 
What is the intervention for cyberbullying?
As a parent, you would know if your child has a problem. So you must react immediately once you recognise the mentioned cyberbullying signs on your child. To help you succeed with the intervention, check out the ways below.
Listen to your child and encourage them to talk to you. While you let them speak about the issue, keep calm and don’t overreact. The best way for your child to open up is when they are assured that you are listening to them. Make them feel that they can tell you just about anything.
Make them feel safe with you as their companion. Support them and make sure that your child feels your love and comfort. Knowing that they can easily come to you and make them feel safe is what you want as parents.
Maintain open communication with your child. Always ask them about their day. Observe them and see how they respond. Build a relationship with them. Communication does not only mean verbal. You need to learn to read their nonverbal movements. In this way, when you notice that their movements are off and seem unnatural, then you’ll know something’s wrong.
Request others to help your child too. Teachers, their friends, and even responsible adults can also help your child. Allow them to bond with your child and enjoy their times with others. If there are active bullying issues, reach out to authorities right away.
How to prevent kids from cyberbullying?
You cannot protect your child all the time, but you can teach them how to prepare for any bullying circumstances. Here are the ways you can prevent cyberbullying:
1. Pray for your child’s safety. 2. Know your child very well, and learn who their friends are.3. Teach your kid how to show good manners to everyone.4. Give them time for other things other than using the internet.5. Enlighten your child on the dangers of the digital world.Use parental privacy and control settings.6. Know your child’s password and regularly check their accounts. 7. Limit your child’s online and gadget activities.8. Allow your child to join extracurricular activities for kids. 
We believe that after-school care activities are great to prevent cyberbullying. During the extracurricular activities for kids, they will learn new things and keep busy exploring new skills. Through this, they will not be prone to any kind of bullying.
Other than that, to make them more familiar with the cyber world, you could enrol them on computer classes for kids. Skill Samurai teach boys and girls ages 7 to 18 how to use online platforms and learn computer science skills like kids coding, robotics classes for kids, and learning programming for kids. 
If you let your child become aware and prepared for any cyberbullying act, you will assure them a safer and healthier environment.