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Cyberbullying

How can we prevent our children from being cyberbullied? In this article you will find some keys to protect your child.

Cyberbullying
Margarida Gamboa
by Margarida Gamboa
In a time where we have the internet increasingly accessible to children (we may even say babies) the issue of cyberbullying is not just about teenagers. We are beginning to see younger and younger children with access to the digital world falling victim of cyberbullying.

Formerly, sticks and stones are common in schools; besides the physical aggressions we saw the psychological side - making fun of each other, noticing the “imperfection”. Everything with no mercy. Nowadays we see all of this not only in schools and streets but also on the internet. As they contact with technology earlier and earlier, these situations happen to younger children. Is your child more than 6? So it’s time to pay attention.

Signs to take a look at

. Changes in mood and evasive/aggressive responses
Mood swings are common in teenagers and even children. They are not in themselves a guarantee of anything. But if you notice your child with a constant nervous reaction in response to common questions, you should check it. And if you notice quick answers like “ok” or “alright” no take them as a guarantee. Both evasive or aggressive responses are common in many cases of cyberbullying. And this is very common after using the Internet or the phone.

Other common attitude is being nervous or jumpy when getting an instant message or email. Usually the children/teenagers are very secretive about “digital life” and avoid discussions about their online activities.

. Social account deleted
If you notice your child recently abandoned one of his favorite social networks, stay tuned. Deleting an account out of the blue is not normal and can be a sign that something serious is happening. Use parental control tools to understand what is happening.

Wanting to stop using the computer or cellphone should also “ring a bell”...And more than just deleting a social account. This demonstrates an even more serious level of the situation.

. Real life clearance
In childhood, and as adolescence approaches, it’s natural for children and teens to become more independent of their parents and to spend more time with friends. However, if they distance friends, hiding from the outside world or avoiding social networks as well as their devices, something is wrong.

. Physical changes
The anguish will begin to be noticed in physical matters. Insomnia and loss of appetite are among the first symptoms, which will be reflected in marked weight loss. Depending on people, sometimes eating too much and getting fat is also a sign of stress.

. To avoid school and social life
Children and adolescents are usually always well and energetic. The "I am sick", "with headache", “I don’t feel well” very often is an alarm signal. It may be used as an excuse to avoid school and social life. It is the tendency for isolation.

How to solve it? Parents can help

. Know your kids online world. Be present and follow your kids but respect their space.

. Limit technology access. If you notice something, put limits on the use of cellphones and games, and keep the computer in a public place in the house, with somebody present. Sometimes, the bullied can't resist to check websites or phones, even if they hurt them, to see if there are new messages. Use parental control options if it’s needed.

. Do not minimize the incident. In their emotionally vulnerable state, they will not be able to think rationally. Let them know that you understand the seriousness of the situation and that their pain is justified. This is not the time for rational discussion. It's the first step to make him feel comfortable talking to you.

. Self esteem. Encourage your children to love themselves. Do activities with them and give the example. Make them stronger.

The most important - be there beside them no matter what, without judgment. And if necessary, don't hesitate to have medical help.
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