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Cyber bullying: 6 ways to detect it!
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January 13, 2016  |  Written by M. Rodrigo Brao

Cyber bullying is more frequent than we think. Did you know that some teenagers look at their social network profiles more than 100 times a day? That´s one of the most astonishing facts of #Being13: Inside the Secret World of Teens, a recent study done by CNN.  But what is more worrisome is the reason behind this type of impulsive behaviour. Almost a fourth of these kids recognized they do it to make sure no one spoke badly about them online. Can parents do something about this? Are there ways to detect cyber bullying?

Sociologist Robert Faris, co-author of #Being13: Inside the Secret World of Teens and investigator of bullying at schools, assures us that there is clear evidence that the majority of teenagers have a strong dependency on social media. “I see it all the time. When they are not connected, they feel anxious to know what is happening online and that leads them to be checking their profiles constantly.”

Zack, one of the participants in this study revealed that he follows his enemies´ profiles in order to control their conversations. “I want to see what they are talking about and if they´re talking about me. Because if they are, I´m going to talk about them.”

And the scary thing is that this fear is not unfounded. The study evaluated content of more than 200 students on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter for six months and discovered many signals, which pointed to cyber bullying. From threats such as “You are going to die” to insults such as “My God, you are so ugly!”

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Did you think it was this serious? You aren’t the only one. The #Being13: Inside the Secret World of Teens study also reveals that almost all parents (94%) underestimate the fact that cyber bullying is produced in social networks.

We know that cyber bullying can produce anxiety, substance abuse, self-abuse and even suicidal thoughts or very negative impulses so it´s well worth paying attention to our children´s social network activities.

” Whatsapp, social networks and video streaming makes cyber bullying that much easier but it´s not always easy to detect it,” says Yoko Liriano, director of teenage programs at the YMCA in New York City. This expert, however, offers six ways to help parents discover if their children are suffering from this.

6 tips to detect cyber bullying

Spend time with your kids, the old fashioned way: Make some time to spend with your children every day and when you do, give them your full attention. Turn your cell phone off as well as the TV and the computer. Rediscover how nice it is to just talk about things and goof around.

Learn to pick up on the signals: A child that is being intimidated might learn to lose his appetite, lose interest in his favourite hobbies and tend to retract socially and emotionally. Be aware of these signals and if you suspect anything, talk to a professional for advice.

Don´t force them to talk: Your son or daughter might feel ashamed, mad or confused with the situation. He or she might not really be conscious of what is going on so it´ll be very difficult for them to talk about it. Give them time and let them know you are always there and that they can count on you if they need your help, in any way.

Make sure they know if´s not their fault: Never, ever, ever make them feel guilty for not being able to confront their bullies. Instead, share your own stories with your kids so they know they aren’t alone and the only one that has experienced such abuse.

Help them recover their self esteem: Make them feel valued by making them see all the strong skills they have and prove that you will help tem solve the problem so together you can fight against cyber bullying.

Be a positive role model: Give them good advice and try to avoid making judgemental or negative and intimidating comments about others.

Before we go, we´d like to recommend you read the 7 things we can do to avoid bullying.

Do you know cases of cyber bullying? What do you do?

Photo Credits: Shutterstock

 

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