Cyberbullying is difficult to define but the concept of cyberbullying entails publishing harmful or cruel texts through social media platforms and digital communication. Cyberbullying is difficult for the victim because it involves a variety of tricky situations such as stalking, threatening, and exclusion. Initially, the impact of cyberbullying is undetectable. 

The impact of cyberbullying 

The impact of cyberbullying on victims and offenders is low self-esteem. Our youngsters, especially during their impressionable years, are met with these obstacles leading to poor self-esteem and poor academic performance. Cyberspace aids in anonymizing cyberbullying, making it easier for intensifying bullying towards our children.

Some children feel embarrassed and ashamed of themselves leading to depression or anxiety. Knowing what emotion your child feels during a cyberbullying instance is particularly important so that you can offer support in a way that contributes to their coping strategies. Communication is key to recovery.  

What can be done?

 When faced with cyberbullying, the first suggestion is to block the bully from your social media account and report them. Parents can increase children’s awareness of cyberbullying and how to identify when bullied. Give trust and be trusted by your children by talking to them encouraging them to open up. Do not judge your children when they make mistakes, let them know that mistakes are inevitable but together, we can sort these cyberbullying instances out. 

As parents, we could also adopt some intervention strategies such as checking our children’s internet usage. We can learn about social media platforms and understand your child’s social presence on these platforms. It is necessary to trust our children in the process. We should know an authority to call upon to prevent further instances. It is necessary to know your child’s teachers and friends. Knowing your child’s social circle will ensure they are safe and in good company.  

The parent’s understanding of the severity and ability to find instances of cyberbullying enables us to intervene when needed to help our young ones. However, do not blame yourselves. Parents sometimes just blame themselves for all the pain that their child goes through. We need to remember that we have no control over others’ behavior especially when it is online, so we need to be strong to support our children through cyberbullying. Take care of yourselves too, as parents we do everything about our children but staying mentally and physically fit during these times will prove to be helpful for you and your child. 

Cyberbullying scares both the children and parents, letting the bully steer your lives. Parents can reduce the child’s impact by being emotionally available to the child and being strongly influenced. Our strength will resonate in our children’s ability to cope with cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is an overwhelming experience for us, parents, too. We need to put our child’s emotional needs before ours and be by their side. Love, care, and support have worked miracles with children who were dealing with cyberbullying. We also need to pay attention to the child’s needs by seeking mental health professionals. 

Key Takeaways 
  • Cyberbullying a relatively new concept is difficult to find initially as its impact may be slow and undetectable.
  • Emotions such as embarrassment, being ashamed, low self-esteem, and academic performance are adverse effects of cyberbullying so communicate to understand your child’s feelings
  • Increase awareness, block cyberbullies and support your child to decrease the impact of cyberbullying on your child.
  • Pay attention to your children while trusting them and know the authority to report cyberbullying instances.
  • As parents, take care of yourselves and not blame yourselves for the pain caused by cyberbullying.

References

  • CAMPBELL, M., WHITEFORD, C. & HOOIJER, J. 2019. Teachers’ and parents’ understanding of traditional and cyberbullying. Journal of School Violence, 18, 388-402.
  • CROSS, D., LI, Q., SMITH, P. K. & MONKS, H. 2012. Understanding and preventing cyberbullying: where have we been and where should we be going?
  • FEINBERG, T. & ROBEY, N. 2009. Cyberbullying. The education digest, 74, 26.
  • GIMÉNEZ GUALDO, A. M., HUNTER, S. C., DURKIN, K., ARNAIZ, P. & MAQUILÓN, J. J. 2015. The emotional impact of cyberbullying: Differences in perceptions and experiences as a function of role. Computers & Education, 82, 228-235.
  • OLWEUS, D. 2012. Cyberbullying: An overrated phenomenon? European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 9, 520-538.
  • PATCHIN, J. W. & HINDUJA, S. 2010. Cyberbullying and self‐esteem. Journal of school health, 80, 614-621.
  • SLONJE, R., SMITH, P. K. & FRISÉN, A. 2013. The nature of cyberbullying, and strategies for prevention. Computers in Human Behavior, 29, 26-32.
  • SMITH, P. K., MAHDAVI, J., CARVALHO, M., FISHER, S., RUSSELL, S. & TIPPETT, N. 2008. Cyberbullying: Its nature and impact in secondary school pupils. Journal of child psychology and psychiatry, 49, 376-385.

 Cover image source: www.freepik.com 

 

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