More than 43 percent of children today have been a victim of cyberbullying attacks online. According to DoSomething.org, one out of every four children have been a victim more than once. These sad but true statistics show that unfortunately, cyberbullying is a part of the world today and it’s a problem that parents, school administrators, community leaders and children must address. With 70 percent of children and teens reporting that they witnessed cyberbullying online, and 90 percent choosing to ignore what they see, the time to act is now. Awareness, education and proper communication among all channels can help parents and teachers to combat this issue. Knowing how to detect signs of cyberbullying and the facts about identity theft is the first step in understanding how to address this growing problem.
Signs A Child is Being Bullied Online
Your child is withdrawn from his previous social behaviors, such as playing games online or texting with friends. According to CNN, this is the first sign that there is trouble on the Internet for your child. The bullying often begins once the victim’s Facebook or email has been hacked. Of course, this is one of the more common types of identity theft that can occur, it’s not the only one that touches upon the realm of cyberbullying.
Your child develops an unexplained fear of text messages, phone calls and logging onto the Internet. She may decide to choose to read a book or do homework, rather than catch up with her friends online. As a parent you may see this as a nice change in your tech-savvy teen, but take heed that it could mean there is trouble online you need to look into.
Your previously well-mannered child starts to act out both at home and in school. This can be a major sign that something is going wrong in his social and personal life.
Your child can’t get a driver’s license or open up a starter savings account. This is a sign of identity theft and can happen as a result of bullies getting a child’s password. According to Equifax, it can be difficult for parents to notice that their child has had their identity stolen so it’s important to take efforts to prevent this from happening. If this has happened to you or your child, contact the Federal Trade Commission as well as the local police authorities in your area.
What You Can Do to Help
If you have noticed any or all of these signs in your own child or in another student, you may want to take action. Lifelock.com, an identity theft protection system, offers helpful tips on their Facebook page on how you can detect and take action against identity theft, hacking, and cyberbullying.
Use parental monitoring software and always make sure you have all current passwords for every social media account. Once you have an understanding of what is happening to your child, take the time to have this difficult conversation. According to StopBullying.gov, the best approach is to simply explain to your child what bullying consists of and define what it is.
If your child has been a victim, let them know that you are there to support them. Make sure your child knows that they can come to you, and check in with them to see how they are doing.
Written by Michelle Montgomery
Used with permission.