In today’s digital age Australian’s are on the internet more than ever. Children aged 15 to 17 are the highest users of devices with approximately 99% being online.
Cyberbullying is a serious issue among young people as 44% of young Australian’s reporting a negative online experience within the last 6 months. Bullying can make it difficult for your child to concentrate at school.
Cyberbullying is when someone targets your child online using threatening, intimidating or mean-spirited conduct. Cyberbullies may be using devices such as computers, phones, gaming consoles or tablets.
Cyberbullying may include sharing personal or private information.
Dr Karen Cohen, Principal Psychologist at Kids & Co, outlines some physical indications your child is being cyberbullied:
For example, they may stop using their laptop on the kitchen table where mum could see it.
Your child may have trouble sleeping or be sleeping more.
Dr Cohen suggests your child may verbally allude to bullying without telling.
“Comments like, ‘there’s been lots of drama lately. I have no friends. No one likes me.’”
Katerina Dominguez, Child Mental Health Coach at Wings Wellness explains the key difference between bullying and cyberbullying is that there are more things parents can implement to avoid cyberbullying.
Around 68% of young people actively manage their privacy online.
The top three actions being taken are:
This step-by-step parents’ guide to social media gives an insight on how to manage your child on each social media app. You can also read further information about advice schools have regarding social media.
Educate your child about what cyberbullying is, how to prevent it, and steps to take if it happens to them or a friend.
You want to get them to a position where they’ve got such an understanding, that they hopefully don’t get bullied.
Katerina Dominguez, Child Mental Health Coach, Wings Wellness
Teach your child about appropriate conduct online so they don’t become a cyberbully. This is not only harmful to others, but themselves, leaving a negative digital footprint.
Educate your child and set up rules for being on social media.
Dr Cohen suggests setting up expectations around the use of devices as home.
If your child reaches the point where they are being cyberbullied, it can affect their wellbeing.
Katerina outlines the first step is to determine the severity of the cyberbullying.
“It could lead to anxiety, depression, and avoidance of any interaction and in some cases suicide. If it is something very extreme I would jump on it and go see a family doctor and then get the appropriate help.”
As a mental health coach, she focuses on building the child’s self-esteem and confidence when bullying has occurred.
Kids use social media to connect. Banning the use of social media entirely could leave them on the outskirts of their peer group.