How do I know if my child or teen is being cyberbullied?

Cyberbullying can lead to serious psychological problems if it is not recognised and dealt with appropriately. Children and teens can become withdrawn and anti-social, can start to struggle with school and can even suffer from depression and anxiety. In the most serious cases cyberbullying has even been linked to self-harm and suicide.

Some important warning signs to look out for include:

  • Withdrawal from social activities, appearing more lonely or distressed
  • Sudden changes to normal behaviour, and changes to sleep patterns
  • Changes in personality, including becoming aggressive towards family members and friends
  • Low self-esteem, including making negative comments about their weight or appearance
  • Loss of interest in school, including poor performance and finding excuses to stay home

What can I do to protect my child from cyberbullying?

1.Be Aware – know how your kids are communicating online, including knowing about the different social networking sites they are using. Learn more Games, apps and social networking at eSafety website.   

2.Establish Rules – set clear rules for you children about how they are to use computers, mobile phones and other technology, including who they can share information with, what sites they can visit and what they should or shouldn’t post online.

3.Know How To Respond – if your child or teen is being cyberbullied it is important to collect evidence of the bullying, including saving all inappropriate content and communications. Take the issue to your school to be dealt with if it is a fellow student who is doing the bullying, or report it to the police if you have serious concerns for your child’s safety.

If you want to know more about how you can monitor and limit your child or teens internet use, visit the eSafety website for parents and learn about eSafety issues that you can use to monitor and limit what your children do online.