For Parents: What Are Signs Your Child Is Being Cyberbullied?

In today’s world of rapidly-changing technologies, parents may feel at a loss as to how to make sure their children are using technology safely. The good news is that you don’t have to be a computer geek to help your kids stay safe.

It may be a warning sign of cyberbullying if your child:

  • Suddenly stops using the computer or cell phone. The National Crime Prevention Council calls this the biggest red flag.
  • Appears upset after using the computer or receiving calls or texts.
  • Is secretive about what they are doing online or with their cell phone.
  • Doesn’t want to go to school or starts having academic and social problems there.
  • Appears emotionally withdrawn, depressed, agitated, or shows any dramatic changes in behavior and attitude.

If you fear that your child is being cyberbullied, the first step is to speak to them in a supportive and understanding way about your concerns. After that, help your child take the steps listed under “What to Do if You’re a Victim.” There are some other recommended measures you can try to help your child get through the difficult experience of cyberbullying:

  • The National Crime Prevention Council cautions parents against threatening to ban children from computer /cell phone use when they find out they are being cyberbullied. Fear of losing these privileges is one of the primary reasons that kids don’t speak to their parents about cyberbullying.
  • Don’t imply that your child brought the bullying upon him or herself. As a the victim of harassment, they are in a vulnerable position that demands your support rather than your blame.
  • Be proactive in reaching out for help. You may need to contact school counselors, school administrators, or even an attorney or law enforcement officials to deal with a serious cyberbullying problem.
  • Check in with your child frequently as time passes to determine whether the problem has been put to rest or if you need to take further action.