CHARLESTON, WV (WVNS) — A child may be involved in cyberbullying in several ways that parents may not be aware of.
A child can be bullied, a child can bully others, or witness bullying. Parents, teachers, and other adults may not be aware of all the digital media and apps that a child is using. The more a child uses these digital platforms, the more they become a target for cyberbullying.
Warning Signs of being Cyberbullied or Cyberbullying
- Noticeable increases or decreases in device use, including texting.
- A child exhibits emotional responses (laughter, anger, upset) to what is happening on their device.
- A child hides their screen or device when others are near, and avoids discussion about what they are doing on their device.
- Social media accounts are shut down or new ones appear.
- A child starts to avoid social situations, even those that were enjoyed in the past.
- A child becomes withdrawn or depressed, or loses interest in people and activities.
What to do When Cyberbullying Happens
If you notice warning signs that a child may be involved in cyberbullying, take the proper actions to investigate that child’s digital behavior, which include:
Try to observe if there has been a change in mood or behavior and explore what the cause might be.
Ask questions to learn what is happening, how it started, and who is involved.
Keep a record of what is happening. Take screenshots of posts that show harmful content if possible. Most laws and policies note that bullying is a repeated behavior, so records help to document it.
Most social media platforms and schools have clear policies and reporting processes for cyberbullying. If a classmate is cyberbullying, report it the school.
Peers, mentors, and trusted adults can sometimes intervene publicly to positively influence a situation where negative or hurtful content posts about a child. Public Intervention can include, posting positive comments about the person targeted to try to shift the conversation in a positive progressive direction.
For more information, visit www.stopbullying.gov/cyberbullying/prevention.