Online bullying can be as detrimental as the physical kind and more often so when it leads to offline circumstances. As well as causing anxiety and upset for the child, dealing with it when it happens can be a daunting undertaking for parents.
Malaysia as a country faces no exceptions to bullying as we currently have over 20.1 million active internet users, with 16.8 million people constantly active on social media. Majority of the online bullying cases can be as upsetting as the results from online bullying. According to a study conducted by the Malaysia Crime Prevention Foundation, bullying affects 84% of children under 18, and this has led to the bad outcomes on the children that may include suicide or even death.
It can be difficult for parents to get their children to open up about their experience as victims of cyberbullying as they may be afraid of the consequences of letting you know what’s happening. They don’t want anyone to know what they’re up to online, or they are worried that they might lose Internet access altogether. Other times, children hope they can work things out by themselves, though the experts say that bottling it up can put a child at higher risk of depression or anxiety.
All of this reinforces how vital it is for parents to be able to identify the signs of cyberbullying, set ground rules on Internet use and to make sure their children are comfortable talking about online issues. To ensure that parents are aware of their childs’ online activities, Facebook has a few quick tips for parents on how to identify when your child is being cyberbullied and steps to take to resolve the issue.
5 Signs That Your Child Is Being Cyberbullied
1) Sudden change in habits
Was your child glued to their device but now they don’t even want to go online? It may be to avoid bullies – just like they would in the real world. A sudden spike in activity might also suggest they’re stressing out about something that’s happening online. Some of the forewarning signs that every parent should pay attention to are self-destructive behaviours including avoidance of any social activities as well as the loss of interest in education and daily activities.
When they don’t want anyone to see their screen, won’t use their computer where you can see it, switch off or change screens whenever someone walks by – that’s a red flag that something unusual may be going on.
3) Dropping hints
“I have no friends.”. “Why are people so mean?”. Has your child ever said these things to you? Well, parents should always give heed to these subtle details as this is indicative of a child going through a hard time. Sometimes a drop in self-esteem can affect posture or tone too.
4) Feeling anxious
When your child is nervous after receiving a message alert when you’re around, or suddenly get angry and slams the laptop shut. Or their mood changes after being on social media.
5) Showing disinterest
When they’re uneasy about going to school, lose interest in regular activities or have trouble sleeping, or become withdrawn from friends and family.
3 Things To Do If You Suspect Your Child Is A Victim of Cyberbullying
1) Show your support and avoid pinning blame
It’s important for parents to have regular conversations that lets the child know that there’s someone they can turn to for help. That means not judging online behavior or actions and making sure the victim doesn’t feel that the bullying is somehow their fault. This helps to build a trusting relationship where an open dialogue about cyberbullying is encouraged.
2) Working with your childs’ school
Cyberbullying hurts a child in many visible and invisible ways, and therefore parents need help when it comes to dealing with the issue especially when their child is at school. Over the last few years, the local Education authorities have been rallying to improve awareness on bullying and cyberbullying through corrective and preventative measures.
Most recently, Deputy Education Minister, Teo Nie Ching, announced that the ministry is working towards fostering an open school environment that will encourage children to speak up when bullying occurs, in addition to training teachers in to look out for signs of bullying.
3) Make it official
When it comes to online or cyberbullying, Facebook does not tolerate such inappropriate behavior on its platform. To assist every Malaysian parent to combat such ill-suited etiquette, Facebook has developed the Facebook’s Bullying Prevention Hub as a suitable resource for teens, parents as well as educators looking for relevant help in countering the cyberbullying threat.
Cyberbullying can be a harrowing experience for parents and their kids who are being victimised online. The key thing to do is to take the problem seriously and work together to find a way to stay safe online.
Please visit our Facebook Help Centre for more information on bullying prevention information here: https://www.facebook.com/help/420576171311103/
5 Things Your Child Can Do If He Or She Is Being Cyberbullied
1) Stay calm
Take a deep breath and clear your mind so you can make the best decision about who to talk to and what you want to say to them.
2) Do not retaliate
Don’t try to get even or put the person who bullied you down. It’s important you don’t say something you might regret later.
3) Tell someone you trust
A representative of Unicef Malaysia, Marianne Clark-Hattingh, once said that if children are being discouraged from speaking up, it actually makes them more vulnerable to online violence as well as its consequences. It’s important to talk about what’s happened with someone you trust who can help you work out a solution to the problem. That might be a close friend, family member, teacher or even the authorities. The sooner you raise it, the easier it will be to deal with.
4) Make a plan
Work together with your parents or caregiver to solve the problem, which might include talking to the parents of the cyberbully or taking the issue to a teacher or school counsellor.
5) Make it official
Report any offensive action or material to Facebook’s Bullying Prevention Hub, a resource for teens, parents and educators seeking support and help for issues related to bullying and other conflicts.
Cyberbullying can be a harrowing experience for parents and their kids who are being victimised online. The key thing to do is to take the problem seriously and work together to find a way to stay safe online. -/TISG
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