Bullying is Bullying, no matter where or what platform it occurred on. The damage is the same and often, Scars run deep. So deep that a person that experiences it will deal with it for most of their lives. As parents, knowing about how cyberbullying and what to do about it is a requirement in this digital age. There is a new thing about bullying and that is now, it can be done on “platforms” such as Twitter, Instagram, Facebook and other social media platforms. The scary thing is that this could happen right under our very noses and we might not be aware of it at all. There are ways to avoid and respond if ever you experience this in your family.
For parents, a strong relationship with your children is always the first line of defense, as a direct counter to cyberbullying though, it is a very good idea to monitor social media activities of your children. Make sure that you have control over what platforms they use, and ensure that at the start you have access to their passwords until you become confident that they can handle themselves online. Part of it is also making sure that your own kids are actually not the bullies themselves. Bottomline, be aware of what they are doing online, at least until they are old enough to ward off bullies on their own.
It is also a very good idea to have an idea of what to look for in children that are experiencing cyberbullying. A very good way is to observe what your children expression is when they are using their devices. Try to see if they are annoyed, happy or frowning at their screens. If they hide the screen away from you when you get near, that is one of the flags to watch out for. another one is if their usual social media account gets shut down and new ones appear in their place. Other tell-tale signs are the usual side effects of bullying, cyber or otherwise. Withdrawal from social activities, being withdrawn and loss of interest in activities that they would have been normally so happy to do.
When you hear Cyber Bullying, children automatically comes to mind. This is actually not the case all the time, and adults are also susceptible. For adults, it is, however, so much easier to avoid. Just do not put yourself in a position where you might be bullied. Flame statements, talking about political beliefs, gender equality rights, and a host of other topics could escalate into an all-out online brawl and trigger yourself as a star of a viral event. Be careful of what you say online as much as in the real world because you know why? They are one and the same world we live in right now.