Effects of Cyberbullying and How To Stop It

parenting Oct 17, 2019
Effects of Cyberbullying and How To Stop It

October isn’t just the month of Halloween and spooky celebrations — it’s also National Bully Prevention Month. Throughout the month, we focus on raising awareness about bullying and its devastating impact on our kids and teens.

Bullying is not a new phenomenon, it’s been around for decades, but how it is done has evolved together with the times. Now, due to technology, bullying has taken on a new, more dangerous, and more pervasive form — cyberbullying.

How Cyberbullying Is Worse Than Old-school Bullying

Back in the day, when bullying was often confined to a physical place, like the schoolyard, kids could, at the very least, escape their torment at the end of the school day. But with the rise of the internet and social media, the torment cyberbullying brings can essentially follow your kid anywhere, anytime — including their own bedroom at home.

Essentially, those who suffer from cyberbullying no longer have any reprieve. Even worse, online bullying offers anonymity. Bullies can be fully anonymous, leaving the victims with hardly any options to identify or pinpoint who is causing them harm.

With most kids today having their own phones and access to the internet, the frequency and impact of cyberbullying have escalated. Survey data from the Pew Research Center shows that 46% of teenagers have experienced some form of cyberbullying or online harassment.

There is another huge difference between bullying then and now: while traditional bullying could be more visible and easier to identify, cyberbullying can often go unnoticed.

The Damaging Effects of Cyberbullying

There’s no sugarcoating it: cyberbullying is a nightmare — one that many teens have to deal with. The impact of cyberbullying on kids and teens can be extremely damaging and can cause a wide range of negative effects, such as:

  • Emotional Distress. Victims of cyberbullying may struggle with depression, anxiety, stress, and other psychological issues due to the constant harassment.
  • Poor Self-esteem and Self-confidence. The relentless bullying and negative feedback can take a toll on a victim’s self-worth, leading to low self-esteem and confidence.
  • Alcohol or Drug Use. Teens struggling with emotional and psychological distress are more likely to turn to alcohol or drugs as a coping mechanism, leading to substance abuse and addiction.
  • Health-related Issues. Cyberbullying can also cause physical symptoms, such as headaches, stomach aches, and sleep problems like insomnia.
  • Social Isolation. Victims of cyberbullying may feel too ashamed or embarrassed to reach out to others for help, leading to feelings of social isolation and loneliness.
  • Academic Consequences. The stress and emotional turmoil caused by cyberbullying can affect a student’s ability to concentrate in school, leading to poor academic performance.
  • Self-harm or Suicidal Thoughts. In extreme cases, cyberbullying can push a victim to contemplate self-harm or even worse, suicidal thoughts.

How To Stop Cyberbullying

As parents, educators, and adults, it’s our responsibility to protect children and teens from the dangers of cyberbullying. Right now, there still aren’t any federal laws specifically for cyberbullying, so protecting your kids and stopping online bullying will need to start with you.

The first step is ensuring your kid knows what cyberbullying is and what to do if it ever happens to them or anyone they know. It’s crucial that kids know cyberbullying shouldn’t be tolerated — even if they aren’t the ones on the receiving end.

Below are more things we can do to stop cyberbullying:

Be Aware of What Your Child Does Online

Understanding your child’s online behavior is crucial in the digital age. As a father, you should be aware of the apps your kids are using and how they interact with them. It’s also essential to keep a watchful eye on your kid’s online activity to ensure they’re not falling prey to cyberbullying or other harmful behavior.

Consider apps like to help you keep an eye on your child’s online activity. Bark monitors texts, emails, and social platforms with the help of artificial intelligence to identify anything that may be considered harmful or a threat, and will alert you if anything comes up.

Throughout all this, make sure you are also respecting your child’s boundaries. Protection and privacy can coexist — it’s all about striking the right balance.

Take Bullying Seriously

Make sure your kids and teens know that they can come to you for support and that you will always be on their side. If they share an incident that sounds like bullying, look into it yourself. Show them that you’re their advocate and a safe place to turn to.

When your kid opens up about potential bullying, take a proactive approach. Avoid downplaying their experiences with dismissive statements like “boys will be boys” or “they’re just teasing.” These responses can harm their trust in you as their protector. Instead, listen, acknowledge your child’s feelings, and assure them of your unwavering support.

Keep an Eye Out for Warning Signs

Children and teens often exhibit subtle yet significant signs when they are victims of cyberbullying and being able to recognize these warning signs is crucial. Maintaining open lines of communication can help you detect signs of bullying early on.

These signs may include:

  • Emotional responses to their devices
  • Avoiding using their phone or social media
  • Becoming more withdrawn or quiet
  • Avoiding friends or social activities
  • Grades dropping
  • Wanting to skip school
  • Losing interest in their hobbies

Help Your Child Build Resilience

Building resilience is important in helping mitigate the effects of cyberbullying. Resilience refers to the ability to bounce back from bad situations and there are two ways you can go about this:

  • Boost your kids’ self-esteem, self-acceptance, and self-confidence to boost their mental resilience
  • Teach them basic self-defense or help them grow and feel stronger to raise physical resiliency

By teaching our young ones to be resilient, we equip them with a powerful tool to cope with not only cyberbullying but also any other adversities they may encounter in life.

Taking Steps To Stop Bullying

There is no quick fix for how to stop cyberbullying, however, there is one integral variable — and that is our unwavering presence and support for our children. We need to make sure our kids are not only aware of the dangers of online bullying but also that we will always take their side if it ever happens to them.

Healthy communication, cemented by trust and a loving parent-child relationship, is key in this type of situation and can give your kid the strength to be honest about their experiences, seek your help, and take action to stop the bullying.

For more tips and helpful advice in navigating fatherhood, visit the Dad University blog or check out our YouTube channel.

Also special thanks to our sponsor of this video Bark Technologies. It monitors your child's phone, detects potential harmful situations, and then notifies you the parent.

Visit to try it.

Watch the "Effects of Cyberbullying and How To Stop It" video here:

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