Cyberbullying. The invisible battle.

Most of the time, cyberbullying takes place outside the view of parents, through phones, computers or tablets. Chances that a parent witnesses his child being a victim or an aggressor are very low since no parent sits near the child all the time to monitor online interactions.

At the same time, children choose not to confide in an adult because they feel ashamed and are afraid they will be judged, told to ignore it or lose their social media accounts.

Cyberbullying is mostly seen through its effects. A recent Bitdefender study (”Teens and online Threats, December 2017) shows that, after bullying, teens experience a lack of confidence (especially girls – 45% ), sadness ( 45%) and depression (especially ages 14-16 – 40%).

Here are some signs a parent can look out for:

Low self-esteem

Difficulty in focusing and learning; children feel distracted and pre-occupied

Lack of interest and motivation due to feelings of depression or anxiety

Withdrawal from family and spending a lot of time alone

Excuses to stay away from school or certain friends

Changes in personality, i.e., anger, depression, crying

Today’s parents are part of the first generation that needs to learn how to address this issue with their children. The following steps can help you explore this topic with your child:

Have the cyberbullying conversation.

Set some safety rules together: what to post and share and what not to, what is appropriate behavior online

Be supportive of their children; reassure them of love and support

Ask for help themselves if the situation becomes overwhelming.

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