Reading Time: ~ 2 min.
Bullying is no longer confined to school playgrounds and neighborhood
alleys. It has long moved into the online world, thanks to the easy access to
technology. Between Twitter, SnapChat, TikTok, Instagram, WhatsApp, or even
standard SMS texts, emails and instant messages, cyberbullies have an
overwhelming number of technical avenues to exploit.
While cyberbullying can happen to anyone, studies
have shown that teens are usually more susceptible to it. The percentage of
individuals – middle and high school students from across the U.S. — who have
experienced cyberbullying at some point, has more than doubled (19% to 37%)
from 2007 to 2019, according to data
from the Cyberbullying Research Center.
Before you teach your kids how to respond to cyberbullying, it
is important to know what it entails.
What is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, tablets, or computers. Even smaller devices like smartwatches and iPods can facilitate cyberbullying. Today, social media platforms act like a breeding ground for cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying usually begins with teasing that turns to
harassment. From there it can evolve in many ways, such as
impersonation and catfishing, doxxing, or even blackmail through the use of
Catfishing is the process of creating a fake identity online and using it to lure people into a relationship. Teens often engage in impersonation online to humiliate their targets and it is a form of cyberbullying.
Doxxing is used
as a method of attack that includes searching, collecting and publishing
personal or identifying information about someone on the internet.
Identifying the Warning Signs
When it comes to cyberbullying, just like traditional bullying, there are warning signs for parents to watch for in their child. Although the warning signs may vary, Nemours Children’s Health System has identified the most common ones as:
- being upset or emotional during or after
internet or phone time
- being overly protective of their digital life
and mobile devices
- withdrawal from family members, friends, and
- missing or avoiding school
- a dip in school performance
- changes in mood, behavior, sleep, or appetite
- suddenly avoiding the computer or cellphone
- being nervous or jumpy when getting an instant
message, text, or email
- avoiding conversations about their cell phone
Remember, there are free software and apps available
to help you restrict content, block domains, or even monitor
your child’s online activity.
While having a child who is being cyberbullied is every
parent’s nightmare, it’s equally important to understand if your child is
Do you believe your child is a cyberbully? That difficult
and delicate situation needs its own blog post—but don’t worry, we have you covered.
Preparing your kids for a world where cyberbullying is a
reality isn’t easy, but it is necessary. By creating a safe space for your
child to talk to you about cyberbullying, you’re setting the foundation to
squash this problem quickly if it arises.