Most parents worry about their kids being subjected to cyber bullying, as it can be harmful to your child’s psychological health. With the stories on the news of children committing suicide or harming themselves because of being bullied, it’s a real concern for many parents. Most parents are so worried about their children not being bullied, they may not even consider that their kids could be a bully themselves. When parents discover that their own kids are cyber bullying other children it could be an upsetting revelation especially if that behavior isn’t normal for their child. Some parents may turn a blind eye or take the ‘kids will be kids’ attitude.
Unfortunately this world is a completely different world than the one we grew up in. When bullying happened, it usually happened at school and eventually the child graduates and the bullying stops. In the internet age, kids can be bullied relentlessly by people that they know (or sometimes random strangers). When kids are bullied online, it lives with them forever on the internet. In twenty years, you may still be able to access the words that were said about them. For this reason, bullying becomes a much more serious issue since it can follow that child throughout their whole life.
Recently bullying has taken center stage when a Texas mom posted texts that her special needs daughter was getting from peers. They were horrible and eventually led to arrests and became a wake up call for parents to see just how big this epidemic is. Could your child be one of those bullies?
It’s not easy to realize that your child is taking part in cyber bullying. But if you observe the child regularly and see some warning signs, you may need to check in to make sure that their online interactions arenât questionable. Be on the lookout for the following signs:
- Is your child constantly fighting with others?
- When he is frustrated does he hit or push others?
- Is your child impulsive and do they tend to get angry easily?
- Is the child often in trouble in school?
- Does your child make friends with other kids who display similar bully behaviors?
If the answer is âyesâ to the questions above, it could be a sign that they could be participating in bullying. Even good kids can turn into cyber bullies due to peer or other social pressures. Because of this, it’s a good idea to monitor the child’s cell phone and internet use. Checking who he or she is talking to and the messages they are sending can help you spot bad behaviors. Being preventative and teaching your kids about bullying and having a real conversation about the consequences is important. In todayâs time, law enforcement isnât taking bullying lightly. They are cracking down on bullies with jail time.
Monitoring your child’s text messages and social media presence is extremely important. You donât want to be surprised or live with the guilt of your child causing harm to another child.
Jeanine Frey is an elementary teacher and parent educator. She teaches parents and children about the dangers of cyber bullying. When not teaching, she also contributes over at the blog at Phone Sheriff, a software that helps parents track their kids’ text messages and cell phone usage.