Not all violence is physical. In fact, if you have ever been the victim of bullying, you will be aware of just how deep and long-lasting the psychological scars can be. And with the growing use of the Internet, a new form of bullying is becoming more and more common: cyber bullying.
An increasing number of young people are entering the world of social media, and while social networking sites are a great way of staying in touch with family and friends, there is a dark side.
Here are some warning signs that a young person is the victim of cyber bullying.
Withdrawal: Has the young person’s behaviour suddenly changed? Becoming withdrawn, changes in sleeping habits, appetite and not socialising with their usual friends could all be due to cyber bullying
Face-to-Face Bullying: It’s common for cyber bullying to accompany face-to-face bullying. If a young person is being bullied offline, odds are that they are also experiencing cyber bullying.
Low Self-Esteem: Has the young person in question been making self-deprecating remarks? Suddenly calling themselves fat, stupid or ugly can be a sign of cyber bullying, as well as a cry for help. Adults can ask for help in a passive-aggressive way and young people are no different.
Aggression: When easy-going people suddenly exhibit aggressive behaviour that is out of character, it’s a sign that all is not well. If a young person is behaving aggressively, it could be a sign that they are being cyber bullied.
School Grades: A sudden loss of interest in school and schoolwork can be a sign of cyber bullying. If school grades have dropped, it might be time to talk through the reasons behind this.
These symptoms don’t always mean that a young person is the victim of cyber bullying. However, they are all symptoms that could indicate an underlying problem.
While respecting young people’s privacy is important, cyber bullying can be just as harmful as face-to-face bullying, and intervention is crucial. It’s important to keep calm and listen to what the young person has to say without prejudice and judgment. Skipping school, using drugs, alcohol, health problems and depression are other warning signs to watch out for.
Any form of bullying can quickly escalate into physical violence. If you suspect someone is the victim or perpetrator of bullying, take the steps to deal with this important issue – before it is too late.