9 Signs that your child is being bullied online - Cyber Bullying Guide for Parents

Due to social media and mobile devices’ everyday use, kids are subject to different technological issues like cyberbullying. It involves digital mean comments, online harassment, and threats. It spreads faster in just a single click which made it an alarming issue today.
What is more disturbing is that you may not notice without noticing that your child could be the current victim of these cyber bullies.  
So, you as a parent must take prevention and interventions to kids cyberbullying. It is your foremost responsibility to protect your child from all the circumstances in the digital world. 

How to tell if my child is being cyberbullied?

Cyberbullying is a serious matter. It might affect your child’s overall personality and performance. In this case, you must solve this problem immediately to save your kid’s mental, emotional, social, and physical well-being.
First, you must observe if your child is suffering from cyberbullying. To allow you to verify it immediately, here are some of the usual indicators of a victim of cyberbullying.

#1 Emotional discomfort during and after using gadgets and the internet

Whose kid doesn't want to use their gadgets, browse social media, and play games? None, unless there is something that bothers them.
If your child is suddenly not enjoying their gadgets, it might be due to an inappropriate situation they face on their devices. So, if you notice that your child becomes upset whilst they are using their mobile devices, then it might be an indication of cyberbullying. Moreover, if they just stopped using any gadget, computer or phone, it could be because of someone threatening them online. 
Even though your child needs to use their laptops for online learning and they still don’t want to use it, then you should start finding the root of their behaviour. This kind of fear and emotional distress of using mobile devices could be due to cyberbullying attacks.
So talk to your child, ask them about the problem, and see where you can help them. Make sure that you listen to them very carefully so they won’t feel judged or disregarded. Moreover, casually checking their accounts and social media friends will help you identify the main problem.

#2 Out of the blue anger

An evident instant change of behaviour is one thing to notice for cyberbullying victims. They are mostly in an unpleasant mood which makes them cranky and infuriated all the time. Besides that, they always get angry without any reason. 
If your bubbly and lively kid turned to be moody and irritable all of a sudden, please check out its causes. You must promptly identify the main problem and see why they are annoyed and uncomfortable most of the time.
How? Enlighten your child about the dangers of the digital world. Let them understand the importance of privacy and security. Moreover, give them some practical advice on how to control their anger if people are attacking them. 
Afterwards, make your move to stop these kids from harassing your child online.

#3 Distant from family, friends, and social events

A cyberbullying victim also carries social issues. They don’t want to communicate with their close friends, or even with their parents and siblings at home. They usually want to stay away from people instead of mingling with them. Moreover, online-bullied victims prefer to stay alone, which leads to avoidance of any group gatherings and meetings.
Once you observe your child changing from a pleasant and friendly person into a timid kid, you should again look for the reasons. There might be some problems they are facing that push them to keep away from others. One reason could be cyberbullying. 
If you noticed this, give your child some slack. Allow them to have the strength of talking to you instead of pushing them to speak up. Just invite them to the gatherings and don’t require them to join you if they don’t feel comfortable. Then, once they realise things, try to connect with them and be the person they can hold on to.

#4 Escalated fear, anxiety, depression, shame, and low self-confidence

If an enthusiastic kid becomes anxious and worried, then something brings this kind of impact. Mostly, cyberbullying victims turn from cheerful children or teens to sad, unmotivated individuals. They could also be crying alone or feeling devastated. 
Notice if your child looks tired or uninterested in everything. Then, look up at their gadgets and see the information they are getting online. Something or someone could disappoint them, which causes a lack of self-esteem and motivation in life.
Instead of scolding your kid, why not show them a little appreciation. Help them love themselves without only focusing on others’ opinions. You as a parent are a great tool to build your child’s self-esteem. Remind them of their strengths and help them with their weaknesses. In this case, they will appreciate you more.

#5 Truancy and skipping school

Once a bright and sharp child stopped enjoying school, you should get alarmed right away. It is improbable that they loved to attend school, but suddenly they refuse to go. It is an undeniable indication that your child is not comfortable with their classmates or even teacher. 
Cyberbullying victims started to skip school so they do not encounter bullies. It is their key strategy to avoid oppression, threats, and manipulation. Kids also prefer to stay out of school instead of seeing people’s faces, making them feel embarrassed. Especially now that some classes are done online. If your kids suddenly don’t want to see their classmates and teacher, then cyberbullying can be one of the reasons. 
Talk to the teachers and real friends your child has. You may ask them for help with your child’s problem. Through these respective individuals, they can encourage your kid to go back to school and focus on learning rather than the bullies around them. 
Plead to these teachers and friends to protect your child from danger. Also, you may request them to tell you if your child cannot perform any tasks. Through this, you will be able to monitor your kid’s school performance.

#6 Failing grades and unproductivity to school works 

Another strong indication for kids cyberbullying is when they begin not to continue their homework. They could fail their exams and exercises after they try skipping school. So, they are not learning anything. 
They wanted to keep away from the sight of bullies, so they didn't want to do any group or individual work inside the classroom. Also, victims would choose to work alone quietly to prevent being in the spotlight. So, they would not participate in the class nor enjoy learning from the lessons.
As a result, you would receive their grading cards and score exams failing. Check out why your smart, bright kid became unwilling to do any school-related activities.
Remind your child of the importance of learning and studying. Teach them to be stronger and braver in facing challenges in order to accomplish tasks and school work. After this, make sure that the bullies will stop causing harm to your child. Go first to the roots and ensure that these bullies will not repeat any bullying acts to your kid

#7 Sudden change in eating and sleeping habits

As cyberbullying victims change their behaviours, they also become different in their eating and sleeping habits. They might not have a good appetite all the time or even refuse to eat on time. They could also just grab a lesser amount of food compared to their usual desire.
Moreover, the victim might always prefer to sleep, which is an indication of a downhearted kid. On the contrary, some victims cannot sleep properly due to anxiety and worrying at night long.
Help your child to bring back healthy eating and sleeping habits. Guide them to take good care of their physical wellness. As a result, they will become in a better physical condition. 
If needed, ask for some pediatrician or authorities to balance out your child’s emotional and physical well-being. It will protect them from further personality damage.

#8 Misuse of drugs, smoke, and alcohol

Cyberbullied teens lead to drug, smoke, and alcohol abuse. They use these mediums to forget their problems and overcome the attacks they are facing from bullies. It might also make them feel better so they can take drugs and bad vices like smoke and alcoholic drinks. 
You must double-time as parents. Work faster to grab your child from addiction. Help them to appropriately face these bullies without wrecking their lives so it will make them tougher persons in the future.

#9 Turning secretive and elusive and secretive about online activities

A child who is becoming secretive is another suspicious act of cyberbullying. Because the cyberbully threatens them, the victim is now scared of telling this matter to anyone. So, it made them very mysterious. Furthermore, cyberbullying victims chose to keep the attacks silent to prevent them from making it worse. 
They will not open up things to you through this, and they will build walls from anyone near in their lives. They chose to fight this challenge alone which is more dangerous for them.
If this issue happens, don’t force them because it will heighten the problem. Just let them calm themselves. Once you have a better time to talk to them privately, do it right away. Make sure you are prepared and all you want to do is help them, not judge nor embarrass them.

What to do if my child is being cyberbullied? 

If you have been bullied or witnessed others have been bullied and need help, you can contact Kids Help Line (1800 55 1800), a free and confidential, telephone counselling service for 5 to 25-year-olds in Australia.
Lifeline (13 11 14) is a free and confidential service staffed by trained telephone counsellors.
The Australian Human Rights Commission (1300 656 419) has a complaint-handling service that may investigate complaints of discrimination, harassment and bullying
You may also try to enrol your kids in activities that foster positive traits in children like coding. Coding classes can help your child focus on more important things so the risk of them turning into bullies or being bullied is lesser. Skill Samurai provide a safe space for kids learning to code.
Check out Skill Samurai's coding classes for kids.

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