Signs of Online Bullying

Aug 13, 2019 Bullying

Posted by: Kisling, Nestico & Redick, LLC

If you are a parent, you may remember times that you were bullied as a child or witnessed other children subjected to bullying on the playground, at lunch, recess, during school breaks, or even during classes. Times have changed, because now bullying occurs online. Even though it may not cause physical injuries, online bullying causes a devastating emotional impact on victims.

Bullying is being taken more seriously especially in the wake of teen suicides and school shootings. Bullying has been a factor in tragic suicides of children who have not even reached their teens. If you are concerned about online bullying, it is important to understand the signs and to know what steps to take if your suspicions about online bullying are confirmed. Our experienced attorneys at Kisling, Nestico & Redick can help—call us at 1-800-HURT-NOW to discuss your case.

Understanding Online Bullying

Bullying involves unwanted harassment, physical aggression, teasing, or verbal abuse against a victim by one or more children. Bullying once was considered a problem that mostly happened on school playgrounds. Now, bullies have even greater access to harass, humiliate, and abuse their victims online through platforms such as social media and communication applications that children can access on most phones.

Online bullying can be even more harmful emotionally than physical intimidation because of the fact that social media accounts and cell phones are available 24/7 –this can allow the bully greater access to intimidate another child. The individual who is abusing or harassing your child may be able to remain anonymous, especially if the case is not investigated The bully may include other individuals known to the victim to increase the intimidation factor felt by the target of bullying.

Examples of online bullying include the following:

  • Name-calling, threats, or insults in individual or group messages on social media
  • Creation of fake social media profiles to degrade, insult, or make fun of the victim
  • Use of fake profiles to befriend victims with the intent of gaining personal information to make the victim feel vulnerable
  • Using fake or edited photos of the victim on social media to cause humiliation
  • Racial slurs, jokes, or comments targeted at specific individuals that are meant to cause emotional distress
  • Sharing the victim’s private information such as photos, intimate conversations, and information the victim personally confided to the bully with others
  • Spreading rumors to peers through social media

Signs of Online Bullying

It is easy to miss the signs of bullying if your child does not tell you directly that this is happening to them. Many children avoid talking about bullying due to fear of retaliation or judgment by their peers. Here are some of the signs of cyberbullying that you should be aware of:

  • Unexplained mood changes, especially if these are associated with the child’s activities online
  • Nervousness or sadness when receiving a message or text
  • Avoidance of school and other activities where a bully may be present
  • Concealing online activities—many children are ashamed that they are being victimized
  • Emotional reactions during computer use such as walking away
  • Refusal to discuss online activities
  • Unexplained weight changes
  • Changes in sleeping habits

Online bullying may intersect with what is going on in the outside world. Many children are now pressured to play online “games” that have become a sensation online but may be ultimately harmful to their physical and mental well-being. Children are especially vulnerable to online predators because they may be more influenced by outside information than adults and less able to distinguish fantasies from reality.

Investigating your Online Bullying Concerns

If you feel that your child has been a victim of online bullying, find out exactly what has been going on. If your child is reluctant to speak to you about what is occurring, you have a right to restrict their use of online activity and to utilize parental controls. Analyzing on your child’s online activities may cause arguments and discord with your child, but your duty to protect your child comes first.

When you speak to your child about online bullying, ask if they are having problems with bullies during times when they are not online. Sometimes online bullying is only one part of the bullying your child is experiencing—this may be continuing at school, in your neighborhood, at church, or during extracurricular activities.

Speak to a Columbus, Ohio Lawyer About Online Bullying

Do you believe that your child has been a victim of online bullying? We understand how serious online bullying is in today’s world, and that it can sometimes result in serious physical harm to a child or even death. Pursing legal action sends a clear message that bullying should not be tolerated, under any circumstances. Our attorneys can help you pursue any legal remedies available. Contact our office today by calling 1-800-HURT-NOW or fill out our online contact form.