What should I do if my kid is bullied online?

Conflicts that happen in the digital space, result in many real-life conflicts. Even some victims, because they could not stand the pressure, chose to commit suicide.

According to experts, more than anyone else, parents need to accompany their children to overcome these difficult times. This article will help answer your question “What should I do if my kid is bullied online?”.

One of the real case of being online bullied

J. is currently a 9th grader in San Jose. He likes to share his personal views on Facebook about learning, playing, showbiz, especially Korean artists. J.’s friends are all fans of BTS – a popular Korean boy group, who often go crazy about BTS and participate in BTS fan pages on Facebook.

When he was in 7th grade, BTS released a new song, but he didn’t like it as much as the previous hit songs, so he shared mixed reviews. Immediately, the article was attacked by fans in the class with comments that shocked John, such as “You have no brain”, “You’re an idiot so you can’t feel the music”, etc.

J’s article was posted in a few secret groups that love Korean music. Once again, J. received horrible insults for thinking differently. Some people even pulled J.’s previous posts to comment. Someone arbitrarily took K.’s personal photos and made them into caricatures. Or some people even insulted J’s body and J’s private life.

What should I do if my kid is bullied online?

“I feel terribly hurt. My Facebook is constantly being commented on or texted disparagingly. I wrote a status asking people to stop, but I was said to only “have crocodile’s tears.” When I went to school, I felt everybody was looking at me. I had to lock my account for 2 months to avoid things. So far it’s still one of my most horrifying experiences”- J. said.

J. is just one of many cases where children are victims of kid is bullied online in today’s digital space. According to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), cyberbullying is a form of bullying using digital technology on social networks, messaging platforms, games, etc., that makes victims feel angry or embarrassed.

Almost committed suicide because of online bullying

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Through many years of contact with children who are bullied online, Ms. Nguyen Nhu Quynh shared very painfully a case of a female student at an international school being bullied on the internet during her 4 years of junior high school. This student is pretty, since 6th grade, she has had a boyfriend, and many female classmates are jealous and nicknamed her “whore” (slang for some spoiled girls).

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Many of the friends even formed Facebook groups that publicly defamed the girl. Gradually, some more posts and comments derogate her appearance, how she dresses, and her attitude. More importantly, her parents are too busy with work to realize the situation.

During the 4 years of middle school, the girl failed to commit suicide many times by cutting herself. By 9th grade, she had a severe eating disorder

As a result, the most important thing is still for parents to pay attention to their children. In addition, parents need to update their knowledge about the online environment which includes cyberbullying which is very common nowadays.

what to do when my kid is online bullied

What should I do if my kid is bullied online?

Know if your child is cyberbullied

According to UNICEF, in many serious cases, cyberbullying occurs alongside face-to-face bullying. Many situations can lead to a fight, or the victim takes his or her own life.

Physical appearance

According to Ms. Quynh Nguyen – president of CyberKid Vietnam, a social organization that works to ensure the online safety of Vietnamese children, the most common form of bullying in the digital space is about one’s physical appearance. In many cases, children said they were rudely called “fat” and “short” on Facebook.

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With this form of bullying, parents may notice some expressions such as children suddenly do not like and avoid taking pictures, suddenly do not want to dress up, and do not take care of themselves.

Group online bullying

The second format is group bullying, where there will be people spreading bad rumors about the target victim. Some victims will protest, creating a war of words. Some people do not defy the bully and let the rumors eat them up. 

For example, from a person who is a good student, but when being ridiculed, this student may suffer from sudden low-self esteem and experience poor academic performance. Parents will notice if they observe their children on social networks, and notice the strange expressions of their children at home.

Online sexual harassment

The third format of bullying is sexual harassment. In this form, parents need to be aware of the risks in order to warn their children.

There are 3 types of sexual harassment.

First, verbal sexual harassment such as making sexual comments or implications that are not socially appropriate nor desirable. Making comments about someone else’s clothing or body (body-shaming) is also considered verbal sexual harassment. Those are also continuous personal outings.

Second, non-verbal sexual harassment. This behavior includes undesirable actions such as provocative body language, indecent expression, erotic gaze, constant blinking, finger gestures, etc. This form also includes displaying pornographic materials, pictures, objects, computer screens, and messages.

Third, physical sexual harassment such as intentionally touching others from caressing, cuddling, or kissing to sexual assault, rape.

Signs your child is being online bullied

Finally, bullying occurs when the bully follows the trends on the media, but it is easy for kids to become bullies in this case.

Soothe your child’s wounds

Mr. Cong from the University of Education (Hanoi National University), who has conducted many studies on cyberbullying, said that if you have detected signs, the first thing parents need to do is sit down and share with their child. The conversation must be intimate enough and with sincere listening. 

If parents have not been intimate enough with kids, parents need to have reliable relatives and close friends who can talk with their children to get information from the kids.

Next, parents need to save data about bullying, such as photos, videos, and audio recordings. It is necessary to have evidence. However, parents need to store it carefully because otherwise, it will be easy to be reminders of negative memories to their children.

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Parents should advise their children not to respond to negative comments and posts during stressful times because it only makes the situation worse. Instead, the children themselves should block bad accounts to avoid seeing more offensive words.

Next, one of the ways to deal with cyberbullying is you can show your child other perspectives on the problem at hand. For example, many children see shocking comments for the first time and feel like everything is falling apart. But if the children are taught by parents, to acknowledge this is not a big deal, the children will feel more stable.

Parents should find out who is bullying their child. If the bully is a classmate, parents can talk to the teacher or the bully’s parents, so that all of the parties can understand the situation and find a solution. If the bully is anonymous in random groups, you can report to the administrators. If the bully is a more dangerous case, parents should intervene and report it to the authorities.

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Binh Nguyen
With 14 years of AI experience, I love developing AI products to solve real-life problems. I'm passionate about how CyberPurify’s AI-driven filtering solution can help parents protect their kids from harmful content, while still letting kids experience the positive benefits of the online world.

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