Alyssa, a freelance writer. I write articles on education and students life, shared with Healthy Lombard that the Internet has become an inseparable part of modern life as it provides much faster and easier access to needed data and also convenient means to connect with other people. While the advantages are obvious for everyone, many people may suffer from the negative phenomena brought to life by the rise of online social media use. According to Cyberbullying Research Center, almost every fourth teen in the US was bullied or harassed online and the rate continues to increase. Cyberbullies like to keep the anonymity and their primary goal is to harm or frighten their victims and make them feel depressed and powerless because of the more public nature of this type of abusing people. You must be aware and ready to prevent psychological harm to your child especially if he/she belongs to one of the vulnerable groups. In fact, no one is immune from online harassment but belonging to a minority group may be a ground for biases and subsequent cyberbullying. Youth with learning disabilities or other special needs and those who are perceived as “different” based on their race, religion, social status or any other aspect of their personality often find themselves exposed to this threat.
Signs of cyberbullying
Firstly, you need to find out whether your child suffers from bullying. All people are different but there are some common signs that you must not ignore. Your kid is possibly a victim of this dark side of online social life if the following changes can be observed in his or her behavior:
- Hiding all aspects of personal digital life and even devices from you.
- Phone calls or messages from people you don’t know.
- Changes in mood which are similar to depression.
- Decreased self-esteem, irritation and anxiety.
- Avoiding gathering with friends and other social activities.
- Unwillingness to communicate with family members.
- Strange behavior outside. A kid avoids meeting classmates and talking to them.
- Sleep and appetite problems.
- A decline in school grades.
- Emotional disbalance after using a smartphone or computer.
- Change of habits related to online life such as refusal to check social media.
- Unusual desire to stop using these devices at all without explaining reasons.