It’s no secret, unfortunately, that as technology has advanced, so too has bullying. These days, kids aren’t just being bullied at school or on the playground; they’re also being bullied online. Known as “cyber-bullying,” and it can be just as harmful—if not more so—than traditional bullying.
So what’s the difference between traditional bullying and cyberbullying?
Well, for one thing, cyberbullying is much easier to hide. Because it takes place online, it can be harder for us as parents to notice what’s happening. With easy access to social media, texting, online gaming, chat rooms, and public forums, kids can easily hide behind a screen and say things they wouldn’t dare say in person.
Cyberbullying can also have a much wider reach than traditional bullying – one hurtful comment can be seen by hundreds or even thousands of people with the click of a button.
With traditional bullies, the victim usually has to deal with them face-to-face; however, online bullying is easier to commit because there is no in-person interaction and no obvious physical signs of being harassed.
While conventional bullying might result in visible injuries like bruises or missing belongings, cyberbullying occurs solely online and is communicated through words or sharing embarrassing images, leaving psychological scars instead.
Another big difference between traditional bullying and cyberbullying is the long-term effects. While traditional bullying typically stops when the school day ends or when the victim moves away, cyberbullying can follow kids home and even into adulthood. Once something is posted online, it’s there forever – meaning that the bully and the victim may have to deal with the consequences long after the incident.
Signs that your child might be a victim of cyberbullying
As a parent, I know you know that bullying is bullying. Whether it happens in person or behind the safety of a screen and social media profile, bullying perpetuates a cycle of self-doubt and negativity that tears away kids’ dignity and self-worth. I’m sure you’ve seen time and again with your kids how words have power and that they can hurt deeply and cause lasting harm. It is important to know how to spot signs that your child may be on the receiving end of this kind of hurt from someone else behind a screen:
Look for changes in behavior.
- Withdrawn from friends or family
- Sudden loss of interest in hobbies or fun activities they used to enjoy.
- changes in eating or sleeping habits.
- Secretiveness about what they’re doing online.
- avoiding certain people or places.
- Increased anger outbursts, sudden mood swings, or anxiety attacks.
- frequent crying spells.
In today’s world, we parents have a new learning curve in protecting our kids from bullying. Cyberbullying can be just as harmful—if not more so—than traditional bullying and can have long-term effects on kids. No parent wants to think that their child is being bullied, but unfortunately, it’s a reality for many families today. It is necessary to know what your kids have easy access to online and how it can affect them. By being aware of the signs of cyberbullying and taking steps to prevent it, you can help keep your kids safe online.