Cyberbullying, What Is It & How to Stop It
In today’s digital age, children are increasingly connected to technology and social media. While these tools offer many benefits, they also present new challenges, such as cyberbullying. Cyberbullying refers to the use of technology to harass, humiliate, or intimidate others. As a parent, it’s important to be aware of the potential risks and take steps to protect your child from cyberbullying. In this blog post, we’ll provide some helpful tips and advice for parents on how to recognize the signs of cyberbullying, talk to your child about online safety, and take action if your child is being cyberbullied. By staying informed and proactive, parents can help keep their children safe and happy both online and offline.
Recent statistics show that 59% of US teens have been cyberbullied or threatened online, and 83% of cyberbullied students have also been bullied at school. It is a huge problem for children today.
According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, “Cyberbullying is the use of technology to tease, humiliate, threaten and/or harass someone.” Since Esports players use technology to level up, chances are they have been cyberbullied or have witnessed it. Maybe it was in a text, chat, or social media message. It could have been words or an embarrassing photo or meme.
As a parent or caregiver, you may not see it happening, but you might witness changes in your child that raise a red flag. Those changes would be the same if they were being bullied in person. Your child may become depressed and show a lack of enjoyment in things they used to love, a loss of appetite, a drop in grades, or physical symptoms like headaches and stomachaches.
It’s always good to have ongoing conversations about cyberbullying with your children, but if you notice these symptoms, it’s important to talk about them immediately. Ask about what is bothering them. They might not be upfront with you right away, but just by showing interest and letting them know you can tell something is “off,” you might find they will eventually open up and talk to you.
What else should you do? Make sure to tell your child it is not their fault. No one deserves to be bullied. If possible, you also need to bring in other adults who can intervene. This might mean a teacher or administrator at school, their Esports Coach, law enforcement, or the Cyber Tip Line.
How to Talk About Cyberbullying?
Talking about cyberbullying is something else you can do. Use conversation starters such as these to have age-appropriate discussions about cyberbullying. Be prepared for all answers that you might get.
- Has anyone ever tried talking to you online about inappropriate or sexual things? What did you do?
- Do you trust all of your online friends? Are there any people you should unfriend or block?
- Do you know how to report, flag, or block people on the websites and apps you use? Can you show me?
- Who would you talk to if you were upset by a request you received online?
- What would you do if people left a mean or inappropriate comment on someone else?
- Have you ever left a mean comment on someone you did not like? Why? How did that affect you and the person?
- Have you talked to your friends about appropriate behaviors online? Like not leaving mean comments, not resharing inappropriate content, speaking up if a person is harassing someone else?
Esports Tower is proud to Partner In Prevention with Darkness to Light. Go to Child Safety Pledge, powered by Darkness to Light to learn more about cyberbullying and other ways to keep your kids safe!