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Cyber Bullying

Cases of Bullying and cyber bulling continue to increase and there is a great need to ensure that there is information on bullying and cyber bullying. The following are some signs of a cyber bullied child.

 Warning signs of cyber bullying

  • Appears edgy or nervous when engaging in online activities e.g. receiving instant messages or emails, engaging in conversations on social media, etc.
  • Seems depressed, angry, irritable or frustrated after being online and may also seem regularly depressed
  • Displays unusually secretive behaviour, particularly related to online activity
  • Avoids conversations about their online activities
  • Abruptly turns off or walks away from the computer mid-use
  • Stops using their devices unexpectedly
  • Oversleeping or not getting enough sleep
  • Changes in eating patterns – increase or decrease in appetite
  • Unexplained headaches or stomach aches
  • Disengagement from activities, hobbies or pastimes that used to interest them
  • Is unusually withdrawn from friends and family
  • Often telling you they are feeling ill to avoid going to school or to leave early

Expert tips to prevent and address cyber bullying

  • Don’t delay having open and honest discussions about cyber bullying with your children – education and support are the first steps to eradicating the problem.
  • Look out for behavioural changes and listen carefully to things that have been said to, or about your children, online. Something that may seem trivial to you could be impacting them immensely both emotionally and physically.
  • Educate yourself and your children on the different types of cyber bullying, how to identify these and to never respond to messages of a cyber bullying nature.
  • Become part of your children’s social media circles and lives with the intention to observe (and not to comment).
  • Take the conversation offline if you see something worrying in their online interactions. Take a screen grab or photo of the messages and discuss the interaction with them in person.
  • Set a good example in your own online behavior when posting messages to friends or on social platforms such as news sites.

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