Is my child a victim of cyberbullying?

What is bullying? 

Bullying is described as repeated behaviour, which is intended to hurt someone either emotionally or physically. It can happen anywhere your child engages with others, at home, at school, in the neighbourhood or online, which is often called cyberbullying. 

What is cyberbullying? 

Cyberbullying is bullying and harassment that takes place online. It could be through an e-mail, social media site, text or other instant message.  Cyberbullying is sometimes called cyberharassment or trolling. Although online bullying is not physical, it is no less harmful and can consist of; 

  • Name-calling and hurtful remarks
  • Making threats of physical violence to the victims or their loved ones 
  • Spreading rumours or broadcasting or ‘outing’ the victims’ private, sensitive or personal information 
  • Threatening to spread rumours or broadcast private, sensitive or personal information 
  • Offensive remarks such as sexual, racial or homophobic comments 

Is my child being cyberbullied?

Each child is an individual and will respond to stress in their own unique ways, but some indications are; that your child is upset or anxious during or after using their phone or they spend more time than usual online, or refuses to use their mobile phone at all. Nobody knows your child as well as you do. If you’re concerned that your child is being cyberbullied, you can watch for changes in your child’s emotions and behaviour. Changes might include;

  • Your child being more moody than usual
  • There could be changes in their sleep patterns or appetite
  • They might become unusually angry at home or at school
  • They could also complain about feeling sick or have headaches or stomach aches
  • They could become jumpy or appear anxious when notifications are received

What can I do? 

Trust your instinct. If you suspect your child is being bullied, the best way to find out for sure is to talk with them. If you have regular one-on-one time with your child, you can use this time to explore the subject. 

Here is a link that provides useful information on spotting the signs of bullying. 

If you’re worried about a child, even if you’re unsure, contact the NSPCC helpline to speak to one of their counsellors. Call 0808 800 5000, email or fill in their online form.

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