In today’s day and age, our children and youth are growing up immersed in digital media where they are exposed to media in all forms such as TVs, computers, smartphones, tablets and other screens. While social media allows children and teens opportunities to be connected by creating and sharing information, navigating the ever-changing platforms can be challenging for both the children and their parents.
One of the potential risks associated with children and youth’s online presence is peer-to-peer issues that result in online harassment and intimidation, known as cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is the most common online risk teens face on social media and other networking sites.
What are some signs of bullying?
Since it may not always be reported to adults, it can be difficult to figure out whether your child or teen is being targeted online. You can pay attention to subtle signs or changes, such as:
· Being distressed after using smartphones or computers
· Unusual computer activity like switching screens when you walk by
· Being withdrawn from their usual activities or not wanting to go to school
· Not responding to questions about what is happening
· Appearing more sad, upset, angry or moodier than usual
How can you deal with cyberbullying?
Parents play an integral role in teaching their children how to deal with cyberbullying. As you are supporting your child, it is important to emphasize the following points to them:
· Save the evidence à Make sure to save the messages and texts and keep copies by taking screen shots
· Do not respond back to cyberbullying àFighting back to cyberbullying may cause it to look like an argument instead of bullying
· Get out of the situation and talk to someone you trust àTeachers, parents, other caregivers
· Report it to the site àReport it to the site where the cyberbullying is happening
· Report it to the legal authorities àIf the cyberbullying affecting the ability to carry on day-to-day activities such as going to school or outside, get in touch with the appropriate legal authorities