Cyberbullying and LD Students: Spot the Warning Signs

With summer in full swing, chances are your kids are spending lots more time online. 

At FocusedLD, we know that while the internet can be a great tool for learning, source of  entertainment and positive social interaction, the extra time your child spends online can put them at greater risk of being victimized by cyberbullying.

 As we discussed in our previous article, 43% of kids have reported being bullied online and those with learning disabilities are far more likely to be victimized than their peers. 

scaredgirl Cyberbullying and LD Students: Spot the Warning Signs
Cyberbullying can be devastating to your child’s self-esteem, self-confidence and sense of physical and psychological safety.

 

We know it can be hard to get your kids talking at the best of times. It can be even harder to figure out they’re being bullied online since more than 50% of students say that they do not tell their parents when they are the victims of cyber bullying.

 There are three main reasons why kids are reluctant to discuss their experiences:

  1. They are afraid that if they tell their parents they have been victims of cyber bullying ,parents will remove internet or cell phone privileges.

  2. Bullying can be a humiliating experience. Kids may not want adults to know what is being said about them, whether true or false. Many children are simply too embarrassed or ashamed to discuss what they see as “their failure”  or “weakness” with their parents . Often they  fear that adults will judge them or punish them for being “weak.”
  1. Some, especially those with learning disabilities, can blame themselves for the problem – looking at their inability to make friends, their learning disability, lack of social skills and inability to fit in as the root cause  for the actions of the cyberbully or bullies.

At FocusedLD, we believe that all adults- parents, teachers and school officials-  have to be extra vigilant to detect cyberbullying. Unfortunately, only about 1 in 6 parents are informed about cyberbullying, how to tell if their child is being victimized and how to support their child when they are being victimized.

Signs your child may be the victim of cyberbullying:

  • They suddenly stop using the computer and/or cell phone.
  • They appear upset, angry or frustrated immediately after using the computer.

  • They becomes nervous or jumpy when they get an instant message, text message or email.

  • They suddenly become secretive about what they are doing online.

  • They suddenly don’t want to go outside or start making up excuses to avoid going to school.

  • They may have a sudden decline in grades

  • They become more withdrawn from family or friends all of a sudden, especially from social media.

  • They may seem more depressed, anxious and agitated. In particular, look for changes in appetite,sleep patterns or other dramatic changes in behavior. Be on the look out for self-destructive behavior- i.e. abuse of alcohol, drugs or self injurious behavior such as cutting.

  • They may show social withdrawal symptoms, such as suddenly changing friends or avoiding previously enjoyed social activities/school or group gatherings.

  • They may ask to have a social-media or online account shut down or they may suddenly do this themselves.

  • They may start blocking a number or an email address from his or her account, or may ask to get a new phone number or email account.

Once you are able to recognize  signs of cyber bullying, you can be in a better position to  provide the help ,support and solutions your student needs.

End of Part II of our series on cyberbullying.

 

 

 

 

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