Category: Bullying

What to Do if Your Child Is Participating in Cyberbullying

What to Do if Your Child Is Participating in Cyberbullying

Nothing can prepare you to hear that your child has been cyberbullying others. You were probably having a typical day until you got the call. The school or a student’s parent wants to talk to you about what your kid posted online. Your heart sinks — you may even go into some denial. Now you must decide how to proceed.

How do you even begin to address this issue with your child? Most parents are more prepared to help their kids as victims of bullying, not the other way around. Yet, your child needs your love and support just as much on this side of things. Use these tips to help you work through the emotions and repercussions of your child’s choices.

1. Keep Your Emotions in Check

Dealing with your kid participating in cyberbullying will likely bring up some strong feelings. You may experience denial, anger and disappointment, just to name a few. If you were bullied as a child, that might complicate the situation. However, it’s essential to control your emotions — you won’t be able to get to the bottom of things and help your kid if your temper rises.

2. Have a Heart to Heart

As soon as you can calm yourself down, have a chat with your child. Depending on the situation and how the cyberbullying came to light, this conversation may not be a one-on-one. You may need to have the first conversation with a guidance counselor or principal at your kid’s school.

No matter who the talk involves, you must make it clear you’re all prepared to work together to help correct the behavior. You want what’s best for everyone involved and to find out the reason behind the choice to cyberbully.

Watch your language and avoid calling them a bully. Very likely, they’re a good kid who made some bad choices. Discovering their motivation will help you come up with an action plan. However, ensure your child knows having a reason doesn’t make cyberbullying a good choice — there are always other alternatives.

3. Work With a Team

Whether your child’s school discovered the cyberbullying activity or you did, it’s a good idea to get them involved and on the alert. Having more people on your kid’s team can only help them.

If your child’s motives were school-based — like desiring popularity, peer pressure or retaliation from being bullied — the administration might have ideas for consequences or support on campus. They may be able to withdraw privileges or schedule time for your kid to talk regularly with the school psychologist or guidance counselor.

In addition, it may help to have your child see a therapist to talk about their decision to cyberbully and how to address the motive and change the behavior.

4. Restrict Internet and Device Use

At the minimum, you’ll want to restrict their internet use. Removing these privileges for younger kids is easier since they don’t typically need the internet for their homework. They’re also home more often, so you can observe their behavior more easily.

Teens are much more complex since they often need devices and internet access to keep up with schoolwork. In these instances, you’ll have to monitor their time or install software to scan for cyberbullying behavior and flag you if it picks up anything.

You can also contact your cell phone provider to limit their phone capabilities temporarily. Your carrier can turn off texting and data to make cyberbullying activity much more difficult.

5. Find Appropriate Consequences

In addition, you may want to add in other consequences to support the underlying motive behind their cyberbullying behaviors. For example, if your child joined in cyberbullying to fit in with a particular group, you should remove them from that influence as much as possible. You could take them out of a club or ground them so they can only leave home for school.

Finding new ways to occupy your kid’s attention helps create worthwhile substitutes for the bad choices they were making. Help them find a new hobby or pick up an old one. Look for something they’re passionate about and encourage them to spend more time on it. You can also set aside more family time to improve those bonds — order a pizza and get the whole family together on the living room floor to play board games.

6. Encourage Your Child to Make Amends

Just like when your child was small and pushed someone on the playground, they need to make it right. You should find a way they can make amends to the person or people they hurt with their cyberbullying behavior.

First, they should immediately delete any hurtful public or private posts or comments. Afterward, they should offer some form of apology to the person they hurt. If that person isn’t ready to face their bully, you should have your child write a note. Read it before delivery to ensure its appropriateness.

Cyberbullying Has Lasting Consequences

As uncomfortable as it is to deal with your kid participating in cyberbullying, you must address it now before the problem worsens. Kids who continue to bully throughout childhood tend towards similar behavior as adults. Protect your child’s future by helping them change their behavior in the present.

Cora Gold Author Bio - Social MediaAuthor bio:
Cora Gold is the Editor-in-Chief of women’s lifestyle magazine, Revivalist. She strives to live a happy and healthy life with her family by her side.

Follow Cora on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Common Signs Your Child Might Be Getting Bullied

Common Signs Your Child Might Be Getting Bullied

Kids can be brutal to one another. It results in stress for your child as they process what is happening and learn to cope with it. Of course, it’s also of great concern for parents as well.  If you’re worried about your child, it’s only natural to want to help them defend themselves and keep them safe.

Let’s explore some red flags you should watch for to know if your kid is getting bullied.

1. Headaches and Stomachaches

Kids bullied in school may not have the courage to talk about it. The signs appear in other ways, like frequent ailments. Suppose your child constantly complains of a headache or stomachache. In that case, they might be going through something at school that is causing their anxiety to permeate through their body in physical ailment form.

Dietary changes like a loss of appetite can be a symptom of bullying. Try approaching your child with understanding and questioning them about the reason for their sudden changes. Scolding them for not eating enough will likely just make matters worse. Coax them into telling you what is going on.

2. Withdrawal From Family Functions

Being a parent sometimes entails reading between the lines. Kids are likely ashamed of being bullied and can fear getting in trouble or being judged for not standing up for themselves. This can be challenging with the never-ending to-do list you already have, but you should do your best to take notice when your child is suffering.

Any changes in their behavior, dietary habits, and socialization can cause concern. Connecting with others is an essential way of relieving negative thoughts and anxiety. When your child withdraws from family, they’re likely feeding into insecurities brought on by judgment from others.

3. Losing Interest in Socialization

Bullying is scary for children. Often, they don’t know how to react. When they tell, they can be labeled as a tattletale. When they fight back, they can get in trouble for fighting. Bullying can be confusing, and when kids don’t know the best route to take, they can get overwhelmed and completely shut down emotionally. This can cause a complete loss of interest in any social gatherings or hanging out with their friends.

They want to avoid any situation where bullying would likely occur, including going to school. If your child is suddenly using every trick in the book to get out of going to school or attending extracurricular activities they used to find fun, there’s a good chance they’re being bullied in some way or another.

4. Difficulty Sleeping

Difficulty sleeping or having frequent nightmares can be a sign of bullying. Any shift in your child’s sleeping patterns is a reason to worry because quality sleep is essential to a healthy lifestyle. Most older kids aren’t getting the needed rest and are more likely to experience various sleep challenges.

If your child is waking in the middle of the night or suddenly having issues falling asleep, consider talking with them to find the cause. Often, kids don’t want to go to the doctor, so telling them you’re worried and might need to take them can get them to open up to you about what is bothering them. Be consistent with their bedtime and limit their screen time to see if that helps before making the trip.

5. Decrease in Self-Esteem

Bullying can manifest in your child and lower their self-esteem. If you notice your child’s confidence plummet or they begin doubting themselves, they might be a victim of bullying. There isn’t much you can do to help your child if they don’t communicate with you. Encourage your child to open up about why they’re so hard on themselves. Adolescence and teenage years are tough and can harm kids’ self-image.

Encourage your child to love themselves, take time for their mental health, and support their friends’ self-image as well. Be observant and set positive examples and expectations for your child. Ensure they know who to talk to when they feel bullied or notice a bully harming someone else.

Signs Your Child Is Getting Bullied

Bullying can be physical, with apparent signs you can be watchful for – like torn clothing or bumps and bruises. Bullying can also be verbal, emotional, and hard to detect in your children.

If you witness any of these symptoms, your child might be a victim of bullying. Learn how to protect your child against bullying.  Do your best to establish an open line of communication so your child feels comfortable coming to you with their fears and concerns.

Cora Gold Author Bio - Social MediaAuthor bio:
Cora Gold is the Editor-in-Chief of women’s lifestyle magazine, Revivalist. She strives to live a happy and healthy life with her family by her side.

Follow Cora on Facebook and LinkedIn.

Is Cyberbullying a Crime?

Is Cyberbullying a Crime?

Bullying is not new, as it has been around for a long time in various aspects of life. However, with the presence of the internet and social media, it has become a menace due to cyberbullying. Many may wonder, is cyberbullying a crime?  The primary concern is that any type of bullying may be hurtful to the victim.

73% of students claim to have been bullied at school, and 44% share experiencing bullying in the span of thirty days.  Even though it’s quite prevalent, it’s not quantifiable when a victim feels unsafe due to something sent to them online or written about them. This online humiliation and harassment can be direct, indirect, or invading someone’s online privacy with the intention of hurting them.

With the growing number of rude online interactions that turn into threats, there are Electronic Cyber Harassment Laws in California to punish offenders. This protects the victims, preventing cyberbullying effects. Keep reading to find out more so you can stay safe from bullying while having the resources to fight it legally.

What is Considered Cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying refers to online harassment using digital platforms such as cell phones, computers, and the internet to threaten or defame a person. What cyberbullying means is that an individual is sharing hurtful texts, images, and videos of another person, making them feel embarrassed, sad, angry, or frustrated. It may also include rumors and false accusations that might put the one getting bullied in mental turmoil.

For those unaware of how cyberbullying starts, it may be as small as someone sharing hurtful texts directly or in a group. It may be anonymous or someone you already know. As people are using the internet more frequently now, they are more susceptible to getting bullied. This includes both adults and children.

However, children are more at risk of mental struggles due to bullying. A few factors that cause bullying of children are lack of awareness and peer pressure. Many may consider something to be a harmless joke, but it has the potential to turn into cybercrime without the intervention of parents and authorities.

The child who experiences cyberbullying may feel anxious and fall into depression, withdrawing from social activities. As parents, you need to ensure your children are safe online and not under the stress of cyberbullying. In California, cyberbullying and cyberstalking may lead to hefty fines and significant incarceration if an individual is guilty.

Current Electronic Cyber Harassment Laws are in California

As per the California Penal Code 653.2 PC, any electronic media, including texts or emails, with an intention to threaten an individual or their family is considered a crime. This also includes putting the other person’s safety at risk via electronic mediums with the purpose of harassment, public embarrassment, injury, or physical contact.

Anyone who publishes or distributes nonconsensual emails, pictures, or other personal information may be considered guilty of a misdemeanor. It is punishable by up to one year in county jail or a one thousand dollar fine (both in some cases).

Ways to Deal with Cyberbullying

If you’re wondering can cyberbullying cause depression, 37% of children have been noted to link their depression to cyberbullying. Will cyber bullying ever end? We may not be able to eliminate cyberbullying completely. As a result, we need stern measures and actions to deal with it alongside the laws. Here are some ways to deal in case you or your child is going through online bullying.

Don’t brush it off

If any situation feels unsafe and may pose a threat to your safety, it’s better to take action. Victims may be able to pick bullying cues earlier than others. Therefore, as parents, it’s essential to trust your children and empower them to voice these concerns when needed.

Avoid direct retaliation

Sometimes, bullies just want a reaction and enjoy it when their victim retaliates. It may be hard not to revert to harsh comments and rude remarks, but you may need to keep calm and think about your next step calmly. Make sure you save proof of your online interaction when required in the future.

Report

Social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat have a report abuse feature in case someone gets bullied on the app. Moreover, some mobile phone providers offer anti-bullying features to prevent it over the phone.

Seek legal help

You don’t have to be clueless in these situations and suffer. It’s ideal to seek help from an attorney to proceed with the case if the situation requires more than just reporting these offenders online.

Hiring Professional Criminal Defense Attorney

If your child or loved one is a victim of cyberbullying, do not stay quiet wondering is cyberbullying a crime. If you’re worried about your child being bullied, you may want to hire a professional attorney to fight against cybercrimes and bullying.

Criminal defense attorney Samantha Greene says, “With rising cases of cyberbullying and cybercrimes, we need to safeguard our youth from it, now more than ever. Legal council can greatly  assist anyone in need of legal aid against cyberbullying.

Seeking proper legal council can:

  • Support you throughout your battle against cyberbullying.
  • Ensure your case is strong and all facts are considered to make sure you win.
  • Law firms with expertise in this area understand that this legal battle may get challenging for your child and your family.
  • They can guide you while representing your court case.

Your child may suffer more if the situation is ignored and takes an unfortunate turn. Consider taking the necessary action to deal quickly with issues such as cyberbullying and cybercrimes. You may also want to contact an attorney if your child is being accused of cyberbully.

Author Bio:

Samantha Greene Author BioAttorney Samantha Greene is an attorney at Sevens Legal, APC.  She is the winner of the Client Choice award from AVVO and the Top Attorneys award from San Diego, signifying credibility in the field. With her Juris Doctor from the University of San Diego School of Law, Mrs. Greene has expertise in dealing with criminal defense cases.  Before starting a private practice, she worked as a Certified Law Clerk for the Public Defender’s Office and Senior Associate for one of San Diego’s top trial law firms.

What to Do If Your Child Is Being Cyberbullied: a Single Parent’s Guide

What to Do If Your Child Is Being Cyberbullied

Due to the rapid advancement of technologies, our lives are becoming more digital. Even though the digital era benefits humanity in many aspects, the increased access to the Internet also leads to cyberbullying. If you are a single parent wondering how to stop cyberbullying for kids, make sure to read this article.

Learning the Basics of Cyberbullying

The United Nations International Children’s Emergency Fund, also known as UNICEF, defines cyberbullying as “bullying with the use of digital technologies.” Currently, cyberbullying covers a wide variety of online activities, including sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about a specific person or a group of people. In some cases, cyberbullying can cross the line into unlawful or criminal behavior.

According to a report published by Pew Research Center, nearly 60% of children have experienced some sort of cyberbullying at least once in their lives. The thing is, the age-long problem of in-person bullying has made it into the digital world. However, cyberbullying is more damaging than traditional face-to-face bullying, as it can happen at any time, and there is no place to hide.

Based on the information provided by Ditch the Label, one of the world’s leading anti-bullying organizations, cyberbullying most often takes place on social media platforms, such as Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat. The main reasons why most people get attacked online are as follows:

  • Appearance
  • Academic achievements/intelligence
  • Race
  • Sexuality
  • Financial status
  • Religion

The Signs and Impact of Cyberbullying

Some children are ready to tell their parents they are experiencing bullying online, which significantly simplifies the process of providing parental help. At the same time, most kids are still too embarrassed or ashamed to talk to their parents about it. Therefore, each parent should be able to identify the main signs that their child is a victim. If you suspect something, watch for the following behaviors in your child:

  • being distant, upset, or angry after being online or texting
  • appearing more lonely or distressed
  • a decline in their school work
  • trouble sleeping
  • loss of interest in favorite hobbies
  • unexplained weight loss or weight gain, headaches, stomachaches, or trouble eating
  • suicidal thoughts or suicide attempts

Apart from this, what experts say about cyberbullying is that cyberbullying has a significant impact on a child’s mental health and well-being. For example, if the child suffering from cyberbullying does not get appropriate help, it can lead to:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Low self-esteem
  • Eating disorder
  • Self-harm
  • Substance abuse

Best Ways to Help Your Child Handle Cyberbullying

If you don’t know how to protect your child from online bullies, try to stick to the cyberbullying tips listed below.

1. Listen to your child without judgment and blame

No matter who initiates the first conversation about cyberbullying, parents should discuss the ongoing problem with their child calmly. Instead of freaking out, try to gently ask questions regarding the names of bullies (if known), the forms of cyberbullying used, and the length of time the cyberbullying has been a problem.

Also, do not blame your child if they have been hiding the truth about being cyberbullied for a long time. In fact, victims of online bullying may be scared their parents won’t understand the magnitude of this problem. Let your child know that you are always here for them if they feel like they need to talk.

2. Help your child feel safe

What parents can do about cyberbullying is ensure their child feels safe. If you think that taking away your child’s phone or computer to teach them about online safety can be helpful, you’re wrong. This action can only alienate them from their peers.

To help your child build resilience, encourage them to block cyberbullies from contacting them. If the cyberbully still manages to contact your child somehow, they shouldn’t respond or retaliate. Usually, people who use electronic communication to bully someone only want to get a reaction.

Finally, let your child know that telling an adult isn’t tattling – it’s standing up for yourself. So, if new episodes of cyberbullying occur, the child should be able to talk about it with a trusted adult.

3. Collect evidence

If the harassment continues, collect evidence that you can later show to teachers, the parents of bullies, or police officers. For example, make screenshots or recordings of conversations, messages, pictures, videos, and other items that demonstrate a full picture of bullying behavior.

If you consider taking legal action, speak with a lawyer, legal service, or the police about the type of evidence you might need to help resolve your case. Once evidence is collected, make sure to store it in a way that removes it from your child’s devices. For instance:

  • Send the evidence to your personal device or email
  • Store the evidence on an external hard drive

4. Work with the school administrator

Presently, the majority of schools have a bullying policy, and most cover cyberbullying. If your child and aggressor go to the same school, contact educators who take responsibility for creating a safe environment for victims of online harassment through an investigation and appropriate response.

If reporting the incident to the school doesn’t help you handle the issue well, step back and reconsider your options. Is the cyberbullying your child experience possibly a crime?  In the end, the last thing you want is for the problem to get worse for your child.

5. Report the online harm

Typically, social media platforms, games, apps, and websites have policies that help prevent and deal with harm caused by online abuse and restricted online content. Considering that cyberbullying violates the Terms of Service of all legitimate service providers, contact the content provider to inform about this violation.

f you manage to provide appropriate proof, the service provider will take action within 48 hours after the report has been submitted. As a result, the cyber-abuse material will be removed, and the person initiating cyberbullying will be blocked.

6. If necessary, seek counseling

If you don’t know where to find help for reducing physical and mental harm caused by cyberbullying, try to find a well-qualified cyberbullying counselor for your child. Many victims of online harassment may be reluctant to speak out, which is why parents should play an essential role in motivating them to seek help.

If you notice any signs of anxiety or depression experienced by your kid, communicate with your child on the subject of cyberbullying. If the child agrees to receive psychological help, mental health counseling can be beneficial for them in areas such as:

7. In case of a real physical threat of harm, contact local law enforcement

Sometimes, cyberbullying includes a realistic physical threat of harm. In this case, parents should contact county or state law enforcement officials immediately. After researching your state’s cyberbullying laws and procedures, you can file an official report with the police.

In turn, the police are required to take appropriate measures to prevent new episodes of online harassment from occurring. For example, if the bully is anonymous, the police will try to track them down. If cyberbullying involves a credible threat or posting the victim’s contact information to provoke physical attacks against them, the police might launch an investigation.

8. Encourage positive connections and coping strategies

Reassure your child they are loved and supported by numerous people, including their family members and friends. In addition to having open communication about your love for the child, encourage them to engage with interests like sports or dance that connect them with other young people. In this way, your kid can improve relationships with their friends and get acquainted with new people who share the same interests.

Moreover, if your child feels unsafe at school, offer to switch educational facilities. This decision can help your kid find new meaningful connections and build lasting friendships from scratch. Considering that changing schools exposes children to a wide range of new ideas and attitudes, it can be a perfect way to start a new chapter of life.

A Final Thought on Cyberbullying

If you want to learn more information on cyberbullying and options to address this problem, there are a variety of cyberbullying help sites that you can use to improve your knowledge on this topic. For example, you can visit government websites, such as Stop Bullying, Cyberbullying Research Center, and Connect Safely Cyberbullying.

Author on Cyberbullyingby: Natalie Maximets
Natalie Maximets is a certified life transformation coach at OnlineDivorce.com. She has expertise in mindfulness and sustainability. She is a published author focused on the most progressive solutions in the field of psychology. Natalie helps people go through fundamental life challenges, such as divorce, and build an entirely new life by reframing their personal narrative.

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