With today’s increasing use of the Internet, schoolyard bullying has transformed into a much more dangerous form of harassment: cyber bullying. Cyber bullying takes bullying to a whole new level, with mean, hurtful comments shared outside of the classroom and on the Internet. While this type of bullying does not occur face-to-face, it is visible to kids, parents and other Internet users 24/7. Cyber bullying can involve offensive messages, rumors, lies, photos, videos or even fake social networking profiles directed toward children on sites like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter.
TrueCare works to prevent cyber bullying by providing the information needed to stop trouble before it really starts.
How to Help Prevent Cyber bullying
Many parents don’t keep up with current technology and social networking trends, and are therefore confused or misinformed about cyber bullying. In order to help prevent cyber bullying and protect your children, you must become more aware of the risks of sites like Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, and Twitter, and the real effects of cyber bullying.
- Understand that cyber bullying is a real threat to children, and can lead to depression, anxiety, low self-esteem and even suicide.
- Talk with your kids about online safety, what they’re doing on Instagram and Facebook and what’s going on in school. Encourage them to talk to you if they see or experience cyber bullying.
- Familiarize yourself with social media sites by creating your own account and profile, learning how to customize privacy settings, and teaching your kids how to block or report certain users.
- Let TrueCare help you to know when inappropriate or offensive content is posted about your children online, what photos your kids are posting online and who their online friends are.
Signs that Your Child May Be the Victim of Cyber Bullying
This information was provided by Mary Jo Rapini, MEd, LPC, a psychotherapist, and TrueCare advisor:
- Hesitant to be online; nervous when an instant message, text message or e-mail appears
- Visibly upset after using the computer or cell phone, or suddenly avoids it
- Hides or clears the computer screen, or closes their cellphone when you enter the room
- Spends unusual and/or longer hours online in a more tense pensive tone
- Withdraws from friends, falls behind in schoolwork or wants to avoid school
- Suddenly sullen, evasive, or withdrawn in personality or behavior
- Trouble sleeping, loss of appetite, excessively moody or crying
- Suspicious phone calls, e-mails and packages arrives at your home
- Possible drop in academic performance
Please note many of these signs mimic signs of depression. Parents should intervene right away when they see the below signs. Waiting two weeks may be too long.
NetBullies.com provides resources for parents explaining what cyber bulling is and when to get help.
Cyberbully411.org is a site geared towards helping teens understand and cope with cyber bulling.