Unfortunately, everyone knows the word cyberbullying these days. Someone may have friends or relatives who experienced it. Others are even less fortuned become victims of bullying themselves. So what is cyberbullying and how can we protect ourselves and loved ones from it?
Cyberbullying Research Center identifies cyberbullying as an action when someone repeatedly threatens, harasses, mistreats, or makes fun of another person (on purpose) online or while using cell phones or other electronic devices.”
With easy access to gadgets and free access to the Internet, cyberbullying is a growing problem in 2023. According to Broadband Search, about 73% of students reported experiencing bullying online. Almost half of them claimed it to happen in the last 30 days.
Although teen cyberbullying is a more common phenomenon, adults are also at risk. And when cyberbullying can lead to mental disorders (such as depression) or even suicide, there is still no federal law against it.
So, how can we protect ourselves and our loved ones and from it? In this article, we share warning signs of cyberbullying and 10 tips on how to prevent cyberbullying.
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Cyberbullying on Social Media Is an Epidemic
In 2019, an anti-bullying public service announcement video positioned cyberbullying as a worldwide epidemic. The video, which highlights signs of cyberbullying, features news clips about an epidemic sweeping the nation and has some eerie similarities to the worldwide pandemic of 2023.
While the “mysterious virus” sweeping the country isn’t an actual virus, it’s affecting its victims in unprecedented ways.
Cyberbullying consequences can be severe and lead to serious health and mental problems, like sleep and eating problems, constant anxiety, depression and more. Let’s take a closer look at this issue.
How to Recognize Cyberbullying?
When your loved ones are in trouble, you want to be there for them. But how can you do this if they don’t share their problems? You can always pay attention to changes in their behavior. Here are the main signs of cyberbullying:
- They have difficulty sleeping or too much sleeping
- Stomach pains and headaches happen regularly and randomly
- They shut off their device without explanation
- Social activities no longer interest them
- They suddenly become aggressive
- They’re having suicidal thoughts
If you notice that your loved one has some of these cyberbullying signs, it means they need you more than ever. Now let’s see how you can how can we stop cyberbullying or at least try to help.
5 Tips to Stop Cyberbullying
If you experience online bullying or you’re a friend of a bullied person, here are some tips for you to help prevent this destructive act of aggression.
1. Avoid responding to harassment
Bullies get satisfaction when you react to their offenses. If you stop responding to harassment, a bully is likely to lose interest and leave you alone. Just try not to react and immediately inform a family member about it.
2. Protect your accounts
Keep your credentials in a safe place. There are lots of services for this and never share your password with anyone, even with relatives or closest friends. Also, change your password constantly and use two-factor authentication.
3. Block bullies
Sometimes the best solution to a problem is to limit communication with the offender. After gathering and saving all the evidence, immediately block the bully. Block them wherever they can contact you: messages, social media, phone calls.
4. Spend more time with your real friends
Watching videos posted by your Instagram or Facebook friends can be fascinating and cool. It’d be better to spend more time with your real friends. After a couple of days without accessing social apps, you’ll see that real life is exciting, too.
5. Protect those who are being bullied
If your friend or relative becomes a victim of bullying, stand up for them. If it’s not helping, you can always listen and support them. Advise them to consult a specialist or report the offenders to the police.
5 Tips for Parents of a Child Being Bullied
Now that you know how to protect yourself from cyberbullying, you might need some solution to make sure your kid won’t become a victim of cyberbullying. Here’s what else you can do:
1. Make sure your child feels safe
A safe home environment where children can tell their parents anything without consequences is key to helping children feel like they’re in safe hands. That’s why you should always communicate your unconditional support for your child. No matter what happens, you have their back.
2. Collect evidence of cyberbullying
If it happens on the internet, it lives on forever. Because cyberbullying occurs via text and images, everything can be documented. That’s why it’s important to keep a record of any form of cyberbullying. It’s particularly important if the police need to get involved.
3. Contact the social media platform
Oftentimes, cyberbullying violates the Terms & Service agreements of websites where the bullying is occurring, like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. Letting the platform know what’s happening could help put a stop to bullying.
4. Seek counseling from experts
Your child might need to talk to a mental health professional about being cyberbullied. There’s no shame in getting help.
5. Use a parental control app
Monitoring apps like mSpy can help to keep an eye on them while you’re not around and help them to avoid cyberbullying.
Being bullied is extremely stressful for anyone and can lead to sad consequences. Show your loved ones that they can always talk to you. And go one step further. Enhance their online safety by monitoring their online activity with mSpy.
With the help of this monitoring software, you can easily detect bullies and predators and prevent your loved ones from communicating with them.
mSpy allows you to block suspicious contacts, restrict accessing particular apps, monitor calls and messages, and track their location using GPS. You can also see multimedia files that bullies send to your kid and use them as evidence when reporting cyberbullying.
Another handy feature of mSpy is a keylogger that makes it possible to match passwords to accounts on dangerous web resources. Finally, you can set triggering words and get notifications when they receive or send a message containing these words.