Cyberbullying: Understanding the Issue and How to Combat It

When talking about cyberbullying, people usually refer to the type of behavior when digital technology is used to intimidate, humiliate, threaten, or victimize someone. While parents are rightfully worried about their children’s online activities, not all negative digital experiences qualify as cyberbullying. During the teenage years, young people may be less tactful in their interactions, which is a normal part of their social development. In order for online behavior to be classified as cyberbullying, it must exhibit the same qualities as traditional bullying, such as malicious intent, repetitive aggression, and an actual or perceived power imbalance, according to experts. In this article, we will explain what observable behaviors are exhibited by children who may have been subjected to cyberbullying and offer possible remedies.

The Dangers of Cyberbullying

The issue of cyberbullying is not as straightforward as it may appear. In both traditional and virtual bullying scenarios, there are typically three distinct roles: the victim, the bully, and the bystander. However, young people who have been victimized in a physical setting may resort to retaliating through harmful online behavior, often using a false or anonymous identity. Furthermore, many young individuals may unintentionally become bystanders to cyberbullying through their online social networks, even if they possess minimal information about the situation or the individuals involved. This is why it’s important to strive for better security on the Internet.

To protect the IP address of your child from being tracked, you can utilize a VPN for Android and iOS devices. You can quickly download VeePN APK from the official application store. The consequences of cyberbullying are comparable to those of traditional bullying, such as diminished self-worth, substance abuse, reduced academic achievement and attendance, and mental health disorders. However, the distinction lies in the fact that cyberbullying allows anonymity and can transpire at any time and place where young people can access the internet. In a matter of seconds, harmful messages and visuals can be disseminated to a large group of individuals, and deleting them entirely can be nearly impracticable.

Mental Health

According to stats, 37% of young people aged between 12 and 17 years have been bullied online. Bullying in any form can have detrimental effects on the victim’s mental and emotional well-being, both in the present and the future. According to psychological research, being targeted by cyberbullies can lead to heightened stress levels and potentially trigger symptoms of anxiety and depression. Additionally, studies demonstrate that anxiety and depression may increase an adolescent’s susceptibility to being victimized by cyberbullies. This is why it’s better to use VPN apps to protect your child online.

Ability to Learn

There was a 70% increase in cyberbullying after the beginning of the pandemic. Cyberbullying can inflict educational damage, disrupting a student’s attendance and academic achievement. This is particularly true when bullying happens both on and offline, or when a student encounters their online tormentor in person. In desperate situations, children and adolescents may turn to maladaptive coping strategies, such as substance abuse, to manage the stress of cyberbullying. Shockingly, some may even resort to self-harm or suicidal thoughts.

How to Deal With Cyberbullying

Regularly discussing cyberbullying with your child is a crucial step in protecting their well-being. Psychologists advise parents to educate their kids on online safety before granting them internet access. Introduce the concept of cyberbullying to your child at an early age and create a plan of action to handle any potential incidents. Maintaining open communication about cyberbullying can empower kids to recognize and report such behavior to an adult before it turns into a dangerous situation.

It is crucial to educate children on how to support someone who has become a victim of cyberbullying. Set an example for your child by encouraging them to inform a teacher or parent if they witness someone they know experiencing such maltreatment.

When dealing with cyberbullying, it’s important to consider the specific type of bullying and your child’s age. For younger children, it may be helpful to offer assistance in problem-solving and install VPN apps on their devices, while teenagers may prefer to address the issue on their own with support from a caregiver.

It’s recommended to take screenshots of any cyberbullying incidents as evidence, but it’s not advised to respond to the bullies directly. Blocking cyberbullies can also prevent further harassment in the future.

To remove any posts related to bullying that disclose private or embarrassing information, concerned parents are advised to directly contact the app or website. Perpetrators’ accounts are subject to suspension by some social media platforms.

In cases where bullying takes place on school-owned devices or happens within the school, and affects the child’s school performance, parents are encouraged to communicate with the teacher or school personnel.

Cyberbullying can seriously harm a child’s mental and emotional well-being, as well as impede their ability to learn. It is crucial for parents and guardians to proactively discuss cyberbullying with their kids, teach them about online safety, and establish an action plan if necessary. 

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