It breaks my heart to see helpless children being bullied or cyberbullied by a group of other kids or someone bigger than them.
When I was reading the book The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky, I encountered a heart-wrenching scene where a group of boys were throwing rocks at a vulnerable child. How they bullied the kid crushed not only the bones on his arms and legs but also his spirit!
While such a scenario is a fragment of the author’s imagination, it also happens to many children all over the world. The sad thing is that bullying occurs not just in schools or playgrounds but also on the Internet.
What is Cyberbullying and How It Affects our Children
If you are familiar with how bullying works, cyberbullying happens just as the same but in a different setting. It occurs on your kid’s computer, tablet, or smartphone. The moment they log in to their social media accounts, a surge of hurtful words, name-calling, rumors, harassment, and threats flash before their eyes.
Kids and teenagers who are victims of cyberbullying manifest the following effects:
- Tremendous insecurity
- Loss of interest in the things they love
- Physical illness such as stomach ache or headache
- Difficulty to concentrate
- Feelings of tiredness
- Unable to fulfill schoolwork
- Failing Grades
- Skipping School
How to Help Our Kids and Teenagers Deal With and Overcome Cyberbullying Effectively
Several signs are evident in kids involved in cyberbullying. Identifying these indications enables us to come to their rescue. Once you see changes in their moods, becoming secretive, losing interest, being anxious, and failing at school, it is time to act.
Talk to Your Kids Calmly
Ask your child how he or she is doing in school. Let him or her talk about things happening around him. Be mindful of his reactions, especially when mentioning a name, a place, or an event. Ask follow-up questions regarding his or her answer.
Limit Their Access to Technology
Implement a strict time in using their phones or other gadgets at home. Evaluate the changes whenever your child is online or offline. If your child is constantly bothered when using his or her gadget, there may be something wrong.
However, allow some time as well for your children to connect with their friends or support groups online. There may be a cyberbully at hand, but your kid needs their friends to help them get through the situation.
Ask for Help from the School
If you have identified a cyberbully, you can ask the school to help you. They may already have programs concerning cyberbullying that will help put a stop to the wrongdoing. Plan with your kid what you need to do and how to inform the school.
Boost Your Child’s Self-Esteem
Kids become severely insecure when someone threatens or says destructive words to them. We can come to their aid by empowering them with confident words to boost their self-esteem.
Remind your children of their good qualities and the people loving them. Constantly say how you love and care for them always. Tell them not to define themselves with what the bullies want them to believe but stick to standing up for who they are.
Provide Extended Help for Your Kids
If the effects of cyberbullying are getting out of hand and your child finds himself or herself in a difficult situation, it is always best to seek professional support. Look for a therapist who can help your child overcome the negative implications of cyberbullying. Be with your child as he or she goes through the process so that he or she can feel your love and support.
Seeing our kids getting involved in cyberbullying can turn on our overprotective buttons as parents. But, we must deal with the circumstances in the right way to avoid unwanted repercussions on our kids and better protect them.