Did you know? Only 1 in 10 students who are bullied will inform a parent or trusted adult of the problem. October is National Bullying Prevention Month. In aknowledgement of this, we have prepared a two-part blog series that examines the hidden signs a child may be experiencing bullying online AND warning signs a child may be bullying others.
Bullying and cyber bullying take many forms. PA Virtual teachers go to great lengths to monitor classroom communication on our online platform to make sure that all students are treating one another with respect and interacting in a positive manner. However, away from the school computer, there are a number of other communication and social platforms that young teens use almost every day. Snapchat, Instagram, and even video games have become a common way for teens to bully others. When parents become aware of bullying incidents on social networking sites, it is important to have the right tools and know what steps to take to combat the problem.
One of the many common signs that a child is a victim of bullying is a shift in actions and attitude. They may become withdrawn or quiet in social settings, which can lead to anxiety or depression if left unaddressed. PA Virtual Learning Coaches are very connected with their child’s learning experience, so if you suspect something may be off, ask questions to discover the root of the problem. Other signs of a child being cyberbullied is a shift in eating or sleeping habits. The flexibility of cyber school certainly allows for the occasional “sleeping in” day, but if it becomes a routine, you may want to make sure they aren’t staying up all night because they are being bullied.
Other times when a child is bullied their behaviors shift in the opposite direction. As a result of being bullied, they can begin to act out and mimic bully-like behaviors. Occasional refusal to complete household chores or making fun of others can sometimes be chalked up to teenage hormones, but if this type of behavior becomes the norm; it is natural to question where it is coming from and why they suddenly believe these behaviors are acceptable.
What can parents do if they fear their child is being bullied? Start by having an open and honest conversation and make a plan to remove them from the situation. Encourage them to track and save all conversations where bullying occurs in case you choose to report it later to your school or the authorities. Make sure your child has the support and courage to resist the urge to retaliate.
Parents may seem like the “bad guy” when taking away cell phones or video game privileges, but it is important to cut off the source of the bullying. If the problem persists, it is recommended to contact school officials.
PA Virtual provides comprehensive support for families, including guidance counselors that frequently work with children who have been bullied prior to enrolling at our school.
To read some of the signs your child may be involved in bullying others, watch out for Part II of this blog coming soon.