No child deserves to be bulliedProtecting Your Children From Cyberbullying
By Laura Pearson

Protecting Your Children From Cyberbullying

Kids more-or-less stay the same. They still love to play, they get embarrassed by their parents, and unfortunately, they suffer from bullying from time to time. However, the Information Age has changed things.

“Traditional” bullying still exists in schools and playgrounds, but now that so many kids have smartphones and social media accounts, bullying has adapted to work online.

This is cyberbullying, and there’s a chance your own children are subject to this harassment right now. There are some actions you can take to protect your kids, but before these will work, you need to understand what counts as cyberbullying.

A Modern Twist On An Old Problem

What exactly is cyberbullying? Like regular bullying, it’s when someone threatens, humiliates, or or harasses someone else. But because it’s online, cyberbullying is different. The threats and harassment take place through email, texts, social media, and more. There’s no real chance of getting physically harmed, but that doesn’t mean the problem is less important.

Common Sense Media list a few examples of cyberbullying, such as:

  • Threatening someone through texts.
  • Taking embarrassing photos and sharing them online.
  • Spreading damaging rumors

Cyberbullying can be as simple as saying someone is a slut, but it can also be complex and involve hacking into people’s emails, editing photos, and even identity theft. Unfortunately, cyberbullying is just as strong and hurtful as the real thing.

How Microaggressions Work

However, cyberbullying isn’t always easy to spot. There are many subtle ways your children can be bullied in real life or online. In fact, The Treehouse lists three subtle ways bullying can be done:

  1. Microassaults are not literal assaults. They’re when a bully insults your children’s gender or background. Although it’s not an attack, it still hurts.
  2. Microinsults are when bullies skip talking about your children directly and instead make fun of their race, ethnicity, or nationality.
  3. Microinvalidations are when a bully intentionally disregards your children’s situation, including saying racism or sexism doesn’t exist.

Because they are subtle, your children may feel they are not being bullied. But if these actions are done to hurt your kids, that’s what matters.

Spotting & Addressing Cyberbullying

If your kids are facing any kind of cyberbullying, microaggressions or outright identity theft, you want to do something to help protect your children. But how do you know it’s even happening? Many kids are so embarrassed that they don’t talk about it.

That’s why Stop Bullying recommends that you stay aware of what your kids are doing online. If you can follow your kids online without being intrusive, then you have a better idea of what your children are facing. But you also need to establish some smart rules about being online, such as making passwords strong and not getting into arguments online.

If your child reports any cyberbullying, be sure to acknowledge it as real and serious. Even if you think they need to grow a thicker skin, accepting their pain as real now makes it much more likely that they can trust you in the future.

Lastly, talk to your children’s school about the problem. Many times, the cyberbully is someone your kids know from school and they might be able to intervene.

Cyberbullying Is All Too Real

While there is something to be said about letting kids develop ways to handle bullying, harassment like this can be very damaging. Because kids are so into social media and staying online, cyberbullying is particularly devastating to your children. That’s why you need to know what cyberbullying is. If your child reports any problems online, be sure to take them seriously because your children certainly will.