It’s difficult for parents to know if their teen is a victim of cyberbullying. Many teens choose not to tell, worried their device will be taken away. Instead, your daughter might complain of “drama at school.” Or maybe your son feels embarrassed or ashamed. Bullying makes most people feel weak and powerless.

According to Bark, an algorithm that scans for indications of cyberbullying, sexting, drug-related content and signs of depression, one in three children have experienced cyberbullying. reports that cyberbullying affects many adolescents and teens on a daily basis. The Cyberbullying Research Center emphasises that cyberbullying affects all races, and can be very damaging to adolescents and teens. Chad Rose, an assistant professor of special education in the MU College of Education found that bullying rates for teens with disabilities remained consistently higher than those without disabilities.

Worse, once an image or post is circulated on the internet, it may never disappear, resurfacing at later times to renew the victim’s suffering, or affect college or work applications. Cyberbullying can lead to anxiety, depression and even suicide.

Five Things Parents can do

Many teens choose not to tell a parent if they have been a victim of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying can happen at any time, at any location, but Bason says parents can take control to keep their children safe by:

1. Helping your teen understand what cyberbullying looks like. Start an open dialogue with your child, and be prepared to listen.

2. Setting guidelines and best practices. Discuss with your children how to be a positive digital citizen by not posting things that could be hurtful to other people and refusing to pass along hurtful messages their friends have shared. Consider establishing a family contract for online safety to set clear expectations.

3. Being alert. Review the signs listed above and ask your child if something is bothering them. You may have to come back to the conversation more than once. Kids can be reluctant to talk about cyberbullying. They may see it as tattling or are afraid of the response that they’ll get.

– Rebecca J. Lacko

Read More: 5 Ways Parents Can Help Prevent Cyberbullying

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