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  • Writer's pictureJunior Oliveira

CYBERBULLYING: The Unspoken Truth; also the 9 signs that your kid's a bully

Updated: May 24, 2019

Let’s talk about this serious social issue, according to recent research called the Global Advisor Cyberbullying Study conducted by Ipsos Global Research, 33% of youngsters around the world have faced some kind of online harassment. This study shows that 65% of the cases of cyberbullying occur through social networks (Facebook) and also through mobile messengers (Whatsapp and Facebook Messenger).

The UK is the 5th country in the world ranking of bullying through social media. Another critical outcome from this report is that the majority of cyberbullying is done by a classmate of the child being bullied. And this kind of online harassment done by classmates is most prevalent in Great Britain, followed by Canada and South Africa. Imagine the pressure for the bullied person in the same environment as the bully most of the day! It is really tough.

Another point presented by this study is related to parents’ perceptions; when the topic is bullying, globally, 1 in 3 parents report that a child in their community has experienced cyberbullying, and around 76% of parents believe that actions aimed at combating this problem are still ineffective. This question concerns those responsible who, in most cases, do not know how to identify whether the child suffers or practices digital bullying.

Behind these numbers, there are so many intriguing questions, but why it is so difficult for parents to notice that there are youngsters suffering this kind of pressure? Why don’t kids come to their parents when they receive a mean or hurtful message? The Lotus page with the article “How To Identify If Your Child Is A Victim Of Cyberbullying” interviewed Dr. Alissa Sklar, operator of risk(within)reason, a consultancy project focused on teens, technology and risky behaviors, and she states there are two main reasons children don’t tell their parents about bullying. The first one is being ashamed. Dr. Sklar states that “kids know their parents think they are wonderful and may feel ashamed to tell their parents that others are saying mean and hurtful things. They don’t want them to worry.” Among the most common types of cyberbullying are an individual's ridicule about dress, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation.

The psychological damage of bullying is bad for both the recipient and the practitioner. It is therefore essential for parents to be attentive to some of their children's attitudes to identify whether they are responsible for the problem.

An American governmental organization called Stop Bullying managed by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services created a list of signs a child is being bullied, including unexplainable injuries, lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewellery, frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness, changes in eating habits, such as suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. Kids may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch, difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares, declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school, sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations, feelings of helplessness or decreased self esteem (see my previous post with more signs).


The Stop Bullying Organization point outs the following as signs a child is bullying others, kids may be bullying others if they:

1- Get into physical or verbal fights

2- Have friends who bully others

3- Are increasingly aggressive

4- Get sent to the principal’s office or to detention frequently

5- Have unexplained extra money or new belongings

6- Blame others for their problems

7- Don’t accept responsibility for their actions

8- Are competitive

9- Worry about their reputation or popularity

In the UK and other parts of the world there are several organizations that provide support to parents and carers and children: please click on the link: “ Cyberbullying” and find out more about this topic. Jennifer Taiario (Ph.D. in Educational Psychology) emphasizes that schools also have an important role to play in tackling the problem as they address two important issues with youngsters, and together, school and family play a key role in shaping better human beings. If you need support I have inlcuded here the links for the Cybersmile Foundation webpage, that it is organization that operates a Global Support Service which provides internet users with support for cyberbullying and online abuse related problems around the world.

My personal considerations: unfortunately bullying is becoming more and more widespread and I have to say that was bullied a lot as a teenager. I know how it huts, I believe that everyone is worthy of respect and nowadays I truly believe that if we treat everyone with respect, we can move the world!

I hope I have been able to provide useful information with this article: let’s keep our eyes open! Also have a look at my other posts.

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