Bullying has been around for hundreds of years, generally in the form of verbal taunting and physical injury at schoolyards, playgrounds and work environments. While many eventually outgrow bullying as personalities mature, there are still some bullies that take to stalking and bullying online. We see this more often among high school children who taunt classmates through Facebook and other online forums. In extreme sad cases, we hear of children who committed suicide because they couldn’t take the taunting any longer, finding themselves succumbing to the bullying and jeers of online videos and posts that do more than damage a budding personality.
Signs of bullying can be hard to spot, particularly when the signs are verbal and online. Words are painful, and seeing the written word that is viewed by a trusted circle of family and friends is even more hurtful. Because teens don’t always know the rules of online posting or circles of friends, the victim believes the entire world is now privy to the bullying that is taking place, and is left often distraught, preoccupied and anxious. Do signs of online bullying show up the way other signs of bullying do, and what can you do to prevent online bullying if you suspect that your child is a victim?
Outward signs of bullying include changes in your child’s dress or demeanor. Children who are bullied want to hide. That is, they don’t want to call attention to themselves. They’ll often start wearing plain clothes that lack attention. Is your child often late for school or hesitant to get up and start the day? Avoiding a situation is a sure sign that something is going on at school or behind the scenes. Does your child suddenly seem nervous or anxious in crowds? This could mean they are on the lookout for the person who has been taunting, and the thought of that consume every movement. Lack of confidence, particularly where there use to be enthusiasm and excitement, maybe more pronounced. Bullying is damaging to one’s psyche and the victim believes that he or she is not powerful or strong. Does your child often spend hours of time online? If so, and you have noticed some behavioral changes, you may consider limiting the amount of time spent online or on Facebook. And, no matter how old your child is, if that child is living in your home, you as a parent have some responsibility to monitor the Facebook page appropriately.
If your child is being bullied, has been bullied, or knows someone who is being bullied, bullying can lead to severe injury, psychological damage and sometimes death. Finding an attorney who can guide you in the proper course of action to keep you and your family safe is a step you want to enlist sooner, rather than later.