Most of the blogs that talk about cyberbully would hardly look at teens as cyberbullies. But the reality is—teens can be victims as well as bullies. We know that it’s hard to imagine your child as a bully, but kids who are bullies didn’t land from the space. There is this old idea that says that kids who are bullies had been victims of bullying themselves. So let’s keep a soft side for all the bullies and the victims before moving ahead with this read.
Cyberbullying, however, is different. And in this case, there are higher chances of teens being guilty of bullying. Because it’s easy and convenient to bully someone online, in fact, many teens wouldn’t even realize that they are bullying others around them.
There are a few pellucid signs of cyberbullying and include:
- Negative or mean comments.
- Spreading rumors about others.
- Sharing of photos, videos etc. of others that can be problematic for that person.
However, it’s not very easy to identify where and how cyberbullying is manifesting. It usually occurs across various platforms, making it extremely difficult to track and identify the roots. For example, in a comment section with hundreds of posts, it might be difficult to blame a single person as a bully.
If you want to know whether your child is being bullied, check for these aforementioned signs and see how many tick marks have you got.
The biggest premonition: if your kid has been going against the normality of smartphone addiction, chances are that there has been some activity of online bullying that’s keeping them from using their smartphones.
Following this, we can easily put forth, three loose groups of cyberbullying. And they are:
Teens who are bullied online may repulse going to school, especially if the nasty messages and photos, floating around, have been seen by their classmates. For example, when I was a kid, I peed into my pants during the English language exam, and the guilt of that was so overpowering that I skipped my exams that followed.
Being bullied on social media networks is equivalent of peeing in the pants in front of the whole class. For younger kids, it’s very difficult for them to ignore the opinion of others around them and the idea of everyone judging and laughing at them can be extremely traumatizing.
Bullied kids skip their classes, are trouble makers at school and fail to pursue good grades. This all originates from the reason that school is no longer a comfortable place for them. It’s also believed that bullying is a factor behind the decreased occupational opportunities.
Behavioral and Social Problems
Another strong clue or indicator that parents should look out for is the social alienation and exclusion that teens prefer as a result of bullying. Activities that they previously enjoyed are no longer cherished. It’s just like during illness, a person refrains on eating, and bullying tends to do the same for every other aspect of human nature. It sickens a human.
Sleeping patterns of your teen may also change consequently. They might be confronting nightmares, or sleep deprivation, or the opposite. Any sleep anomaly shouldn’t be taken lightly as its can be due to bullying.
Self-harming can be another consequence of bullying. Studies tells us that 1/5 bullied teens would think about committing suicide. Thankfully, these figures are not for the kids who actually commit it.
Lastly, your teen might show signs of anxiety or depression. They can become either shy or aggressive, depending on their underlying nature—cyberbullying just magnifies it a few notches up.
How to Identify a Cyberbully?
Identifying a cyberbully can be really difficult. It’s not like the playground incidents where the bully is easily identifiable as the aggressive kid.
However, bullies know what they had been doing is wrong, and to hide that form others, they would go to great lengths to do so. They might ask for additional privacy and even get angry at the slightest issue.
It may sound to you like the normal teen behavior, asking for privacy and aggressive behavior but the underlying fact that parents can use to identify a bully or victim is by looking out for any anomalies. Changes in behavior, class performance or emotional disturbances do mean that there has been something wrong going on.
Be proactive, if your kids would know that their activities are being watched, they will less likely participate in bullying activities.