In an unfortunate incident of cyberbullying in Florida, a young 12-year-old girl, hanged herself to death.
According to media reports, the girl faced online harassment by two 12-year-old who spread unsubstantial rumors about the victim having sexually transmitted diseases, vulgar names, and multiple threats to publicize her private details.
Imagine the trauma and humiliation the little girl must have gone through, that pushed her to end her life.
Why Is Cyberbullying A Central Concern?
Cyberbullying is a cruel form of harassment done through online channels like messaging apps and online chat rooms. According to a report – around 27 percent of youngsters faced brutal remarks and comments online, and only 9 percent of parents were aware.
Surprisingly, technology is used in unfair and wrong ways that harm the human species. Bullies make use of social media platforms and messaging apps to target young kids, to harass, threaten, and completely embarrass the child.
Some mean bullies send rude texts, ask for sexual favors, get aggressive, and abuse children.
Previously, a few cases were reported where the victim’s personal information was shared online and made a public property for entertainment. These insensible acts are more common than we know.
Why Does A Child Turn into A Bully?
So far, reports and cases filed only spoke about the psychological changes in the mind of a victim. However, minimum attention is given to the behavioral changes of a bully (a person harassing others for unknown reasons).
It’s time to go deep into the mind of a bully.
A powerless child at home
All children receive different treatments at home, and this can be a big reason for their conduct in school and other surroundings. Some teenagers face dominating parents and turn submissive. But the irritation comes out in public arenas like school.
Children who face domestic violence at home are more prone to get into the wrong company outside and take aggressive steps. Bullying children make up for an excellent punching bag to take out all the frustration.
Parent separation causes behavioral changes in a kid. A mix of depression and anger comes out in the wrong places in an unacceptable way.
Lonely and forgotten
Children are left alone on many occasions, intentionally or unintentionally, but frequent events of lonely situations make the child grumpy and irritable.
Kids seek parent’s attention and love. They are always waiting to unite with parents after a long day at school. However, if kids don’t find their parents at home or frequently stay away from them, that’s when kids get lonely and seek other ways to release their frustration.
Some children become voiceless and suffer inferiority complex because of the lack of attention from parents. No doubt, parents take the utmost care of their education and day to day requirements but fail to spend enough time with children.
The loneliness triggers thoughts of anger and targets other kids who lead a satisfying family life.
Lack of Empathy
A child needs understanding and word of compassion very often. However, if they do not receive the behavior at home, they, too lack empathy and behave rudely with others.
Kids who lack empathy, try to act possessive and dominating. They always try to make the other person feel low. However, the good news is that a child can be educated on lessons of empathy at home.
Learns from a parent
Children are parent’s reflections. Kids pick up habits from parents and imitate the same with other kids.
If your child is bullied at home or treated unfairly by an adult, then the child is likely to replicate the same behavior at school with other kids.
How Do Cyberbullies Exploit the Online World?
Sadly, online platforms are misused by bullies and online criminals. They exploit the platforms for abusing and harassing innocent souls.
Ideally, online portals are not harmful. However, the increasing number of cyber stalkers and bullies, are contaminating the social networking portals immensely.
Here are some channels that are listed because of their potential use in cyberstalking and cyberbullying:
- Video sharing apps
- Photo sharing apps
- Online chatting rooms
- Multi-mode gaming
- Messaging apps
- Social Media websites
Once you identify the networks that encourage bullies, it is also essential to comprehend the types of activities undertaken by them:
- Child pornography
- Online luring
- Compelling sexual favors
- Exchange of nude photos
- Stalking the child
Children always hide these activities due to the fear of embarrassment or falling in deeper trouble. And sadly, parents too, are unaware of such situations, although they should be watching over kid’s online activities and checking for suspicious callers.
So, here is a list of advice for parents on how to keep a check on the kids.
5 Tips to Help Stop Cyberbullying
Now, it is time to absorb the essential part of this discussion on what parents can do to protect their children?
Honest Communication with Children
Every relationship demands open and transparent communication. And communication with kids ought to be honest, where parents can discuss issues like cyberbullying and cyberstalking. Talk to children about the signs that they are in the wrong company and how to get rid of such matters at an early stage.
Parents can also set aside 10-15 mins daily to identify a child’s day to day events and look for clues for trouble.
Get Involved in teens activities smartly
Many parents have a habit of poking their nose in kids’ private life, and this interference is visible and annoying for children. If you want to know what your kids are up to after school? Who do they hang out with? And what are their interests? There are better and smarter ways to investigate.
The best way to go about knowing your child is by knowing their close friends. A close friend is a secret keeper who will help the parents at hours of need. Host parties at home, call them for sleepovers and find ways to engage with their close friends.
For tech-savvy children, parents too, need to get an idea on the latest trends, gadgets, and activities in a teenager’s life.
Work on setting limits
Parents can always talk and be kind to kids. However, this therapy does not work with all children. Some notorious kids take their parents for granted and end up getting into unnecessary trouble.
Setting a screen time limitation is immensely important. Using the latest parental control software one can ensure kids are unable to surf social media apps without adult supervision.
Needless to say, parental control apps come with child tracking and monitoring features to chase your child and their activities virtually. Hurray! What a relief for parents. Isn’t it?
Add suggestions in school regulations
According to many parents, what goes on in a child’s school is not their concern and lookout. The school knows well what is right and wrong. No, you are mistaken if you think this way!
A school grows into an excellent educational institute when it listens to feedback from parents. It is essential to bring to their notice cases of cyberbullying (even if it is online) and request schools to hold interactive sessions to avoid such incidents.
Encourage an open environment
Last but not least, a child needs to know whom to approach in hours of need. If a family offers a free and open environment at home where a kid can come clean without the fear of judgment or embarrassment, a child will share any upsetting case of cyber threat or cyberbullying.