You suspect it’s a passing phase and let it run its course.
But then you get a phone call from your kid’s school principle. You heard of similar examples of cyberbullying before, but never thought it would happen to your own child.
Most of the times, this happens to children in their teenage years.
Teenagers keep their parents in the dark about this, for various reasons, such as shame, fear of being misunderstood or simply because the parent is outright indifferent.
The cyberbully seeks to intimidate or emotionally abuse the victim by exploiting a perceived flaw, such as being overweight.
In other cases, the bully might attempt to leverage the victims intimate information, such as nude photos or sensitive personal stories.
For the past few weeks, your teenage child has been distant and quiet, even more so than usual.
You’ve tried to engage in a conversation, but nothing comes out of it.
A more insidious case of online harassment are people looking to make a profit.
A cybercriminal will typically lurk on dating sites, web chat apps and other such places, looking for potential victims.
The longterm violence and humiliation can severely damage the victim’s self-esteem, generate stress and anxiety or even induce depression.
In some of the worst cases recorded, the constant harassment and stress lead to the victim committing suicide.
Cyberbullies do what they do for a variety of reasons, and understanding their motivation and mode of operation will help you figure out if your child is dealing with a school bully, or a more sinister threat. A school bully might look for new ways to pester his target, so he opts to use the Internet.