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Signs Your Child is a Victim of Cyberbullies

Even with the creation of a Digital Family Policy, parental supervision, and safety settings in place, your children may still be the victims of cyberbullying. Keep a keen eye for signs that your children may be falling victim to a cyberbully.

Technology use decrease or increase

Suddenly withdrawing from technology is one of the first indicators that your child may be uncomfortable with a situation online. If your previously tech-connected teen has suddenly stopped using his computer or phone, talk with him about this sudden change in behavior. On the other hand, if your child is suddenly spending much more time online, that may also indicate he is the subject of online bullying.

Emotional distress

Some victims of cyberbullying show signs of emotional distress without any apparent cause. Your child may suddenly become sullen, edgy, or quick to cry. She may seem anxious and unhappy for no reason. For some cyberbully victims, these behaviors may increase right after they use a computer or smartphone.

If your child appears to be emotionally distressed, talk to her immediately and help her communicate clearly what she is experiencing so that she can get help.

Change in behavior or mood

Tween and teen years are an emotionally challenging time, but sudden and noticeable changes in behavior or mood are a red flag that your child may be facing something more than standard teenage angst. Watch for moodiness, agitation, or sudden shyness.

Changes in behavior may include no longer participating in favorite activities or finding other friends. A previously well-behaved child may start acting out or get in trouble at school. Your child may alter sleeping or eating habits or show signs of depression. Some victims of cyberbullying may even fear leaving the house.

Drop in grades/performance

Victims of cyberbullying often avoid attending school and may begin cutting classes, exhibit behavior problems in school, or ask to stay home because of illness. Trips to the school nurse may increase, and their grades may drop as they fall behind in schoolwork. If you notice any of these behaviors, discuss them with your children’s teachers, coaches, and school administrators; they may also have noticed the same change in behavior.

Secretive or withdrawn behavior

Children who are being subjected to cyberbullying may suddenly become socially withdrawn. A child who typically likes to spend time with friends may appear to be pushing all friends away.

Victims of cyberbullying may also act secretive when they receive a text message or spend time online. Watch for examples that they are trying to hide information, such as leaving the room when a text message is sent to their phone or clicking a different tab on the computer when you enter the room.

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