Stand up to Bullying Day is this Friday 25th February and schools across the country are participating in the day, which aims to raise awareness of bullying in children and young people and highlight ways of preventing and responding to it.
Cyberbullying is increasingly becoming the most common form of bullying among children. A report found nearly one in five (19%) children aged 10-15 in the UK experience cyberbullying, equating to approximately 764,000 children.
Child development expert, psychologist, family therapist and found of online parenting community The Village, Dr Kalanit Ben-Ari has collaborated with envirofone to share tips on how to spot if your child is being bullied online and how to approach the situation.
How to spot the signs your child is being bullied online:
Changes in your child’s behaviour could include anxiety, withdrawal from family and friends, closing themselves off in their bedroom, feeling upset and expressing sadness without an apparent reason as to why.
Some children also stop taking part in activities. Bullying victims no longer participate in activities they used to enjoy. This usually ties in with no longer seeing people they used to.
Your child may appear to be isolating themselves within the home, showing anger or showing an unexpected decline in their schoolwork. These signs can vary in intensity and quantity from one child to the next, but it can be a clear indicator of an issue, such as online trolling.
How to approach your child if you think they are a victim of online bullying:
Initiate a conversation while you are doing another activity, such as walking or driving, so they don’t feel the need to maintain eye contact. Safe conversations mean speaking without any judgement or strong emotions, as this can lead them to close up even more. You want your child to feel that they will not regret sharing their struggle with you.
Report bullying incidents to the child’s school – it is essential for it to be taken seriously. There is also a need between parents and schools to educate children about online safety.
Show them privacy settings online. It is important to educate them about privacy settings on social media and not to engage with people they do not know directly and in person.
Ways to monitor you children’s online activity:
From restricting screen time, blocking apps at certain areas and filtering what content they can see, security apps permit parents to customise the apps to their families. Some apps you can choose from include Netnanny, Circle Home Plus, Questodio, Boomerang and Family Time.