Cyberbullying: What Parents Need to Know

by NewsEditor_ on September 4th, 2015 in Industry and Security News.

In April of this year Lavasoft released the results of its Cyberbullying and Online Safety Study. The study surveyed more than 200 students aged 10 to 18 on their experiences with cyberbullying and online safety habits. The study found that one in four students had been bullied or teased online in some way. Additionally, one in four children who experienced cyberbullying did not tell their parents about it. As kids go back to school and their classroom interactions extend to online communication, parents should remain cognizant of their child’s online experiences. Based on the aforementioned survey results, parents are often unaware of their child’s experiences with cyberbullying and the consequences of suchabuse frequently extend from online interactions to real life. 

While kids are often unkind and crass with one another, there are a number of ways for parents to recognize whether their child’s online interactions have been affected by cyberbullying. If your child suddenly develops a negative attitude towards school and openly refuses to attend classes or asks to stay home without reason, they may be facing pressure from either online, real life bullying or both. Furthermore, if your child becomes increasingly withdrawn from social interactions in day-to-day life, avoiding typical hobbies and activities such as organized sports and extracurricular activities, you may want to speak to them about cyberbullying. 

Cyberbullying can take on many different forms. Here are some common ways your child may be cyberbullied:


Trolling is the online version of verbal harassment or teasing. Trolling typically happens in the comments section of social networking websites such as Facebook, wherein an internet troll (the perpetrator of trolling) may personally attack your child and put them down using epithets. Just like bullies in real life, cyberbullies may use trolling to make themselves feel superior to your child or to coerce them into acting equally nasty in return. The unfortunate thing about such online interactions is that, unlike real life verbal conflicts, the information is permanently recorded online and may be viewed by anyone.

Fake Profiles

Some cyberbullies will steal your child’s photograph and information and create a fake social media profile using their identity. Sometimes this only involves taking your child’s photograph and using a different name or both their picture and personal information in tandem. Additionally, such fake profiles are typically used to make the victim whose identity has been co-opted look bad through additional online interactions with either strangers or common online contacts. 

Unauthorized Access

As children typically choose unsophisticated passwords and login to various social media platforms on their friend’s or school devices which store login credentials, their accounts can be easily accessed by other people their age. A cyberbully may log into your child’s social networking or email account and impersonate them by posting inappropriate or abusive content that appears to have originated from your child. The consequences of such unauthorized access can be damaging to your child’s relationships and reputation. Additionally, it will likely stay on the internet permanently and remain attributed to your child regardless of the circumstances. 

Publicly Sharing Personal Information

Some cyberbullies will attempt to embarrass your child by posting their private information online, either through social media accounts or messaging applications which can be used to communicate with large groups of people at the same time. This kind of behavior is not only unacceptable as cyberbullying but may pose a real-life threat to your child as, depending on the type and amount of personal information they share online, such cyberbullies may be exposing your child to real-life threats by revealing location details.

As stated in the aforementioned study, one out of four students has experienced cyberbullying and out of that group, one in four did not inform their parents of their negative online interactions. While the long-term emotional impact of cyberbullying varies it is inherently negative and children should be encouraged to openly speak about it. Parents may use the information in this post to start a conversation with their child about the different forms of cyberbullying. Regular communication and parental guidance can help children navigate negative online interactions and cope with cyberbullying. 

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