Study Shows That 22% Of Kids Are Bullied on Social Media

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An estimated one in three Internet users is a child, more often than not, under the age of 18. From leveraging the power of Google to posting silly videos on TikTok, many kids use technology to make life easier and more entertaining. While the Internet can be helpful, online access comes with many risks, such as cyberbullying. Anyone using social media has most surely seen someone posting hostile comments. It’s frustrating, but these comments sting when it’s a personal attack.

The anonymity of the Internet allows for cyber harassment, but it’s not a necessary condition for inappropriate behavior. At times, the victim may be able to identify who bullied them. Back to the topic, cyberbullying causes harm with no physical interaction, little planning, and a slight chance of being caught. According to ExpressVPN’s research, 22% of youngsters are bullied on social media. Roughly 17% of the children surveyed reported being asked what school they attend by strangers, while 14% reported being asked for their home address.

The Time Kids Spend on Digital Devices Has Given Rise to Cyberbullying 

Children spend more time than ever using screens and social media, with the number of hours spent online rising considerably during the COVID-19 pandemic. In March 2020, the coronavirus outbreak led to lockdowns and social distancing. Not surprisingly, younger people spent extended time engaged with digital media; increased screen time eventually became a habit. Most forms of activity have returned to near-normal, yet parents can’t help noticing that kids’ technology use is still high. Regrettably, the time spent on digital devices has caused an increase in bullying and abusive language among children on social media. 

Of all the social media networks, kids on YouTube are most likely to be bullied at 43%, followed by Facebook at 35%, TikTok at 28%, Roblox at 27%, and Instagram at 26%. Victims of cyberbullying are at risk of depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, poor school performance, not to mention suicidal behavior. Even if cyberbullying is a relatively new phenomenon, the consequences are far-reaching, so parents must reassure their children of their love and support. 

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Bullying On Social Media Can Take Many Forms

Exclusion 

Deliberately leaving someone out of the group is a common tactic bullies use. A child might be excluded or not invited to groups and parties, or they can be left out of message threads and conversations involving mutual friends. Put simply, the youngster feels alone because of the manipulation of their peer relationships and social status. Social exclusion causes the same sensation as a physical injury because emotional and physical pain share a common mechanism, meaning it’s a hard blow to bear.

Harassment 

Harassment signifies a sustained and constant pattern of hurtful or threatening actions, such as bothersome instant messages, posting disparaging remarks, disseminating rumors, and creating info that portrays the victim in a negative light. It should be dealt with in a delicate yet assertive manner. To get away from the cyberbully, it’s necessary to log off and concentrate on real-life friends and family. 

Outing/Doxing

Outing, commonly called doxing, occurs when someone shares sensitive/private information without the subject’s approval. That is usually done by forwarding private messages or posting them online to embarrass or humiliate the victim. It’s essential to contact the individual who shared the details and ask them to remove them from the places they shared the information. It might be necessary to speak to their parents. 

Trolling 

When bullies seek to upset others, they post inflammatory, insincere, digressive, strenuous, or off-topic comments. Trolling isn’t always considered cyberbullying, just to be precise. Nevertheless, it can become a cyberbullying tool if done with malicious intent. Some trolls are harmless; they goof around and make jokes that don’t hurt anyone except for brand managers. At times, the best course of action is to ignore the troll, as cyberbullies thrive on interaction. 

Parents Can Take Steps to Stop Cyberbullying Before It Starts or Becomes Worse 

Cyberbullying takes place through digital devices, so how does a parent know if their child is targeted? Well, there are some signs a youngster might be dealing with a cyberbully, such as:

  • not using the computer anymore
  • deleting social media accounts
  • appearing nervous or upset when reading text messages
  • reluctance to attend school
  • becoming withdrawn socially 

If you’re concerned about your kid being the victim of cyberbullying, you must look further than YouTube, Instagram, or TikTok to recognize they’re in trouble. The bully will increase their abuse if your child doesn’t know who they are, but they rely mostly on power to protect them, not anonymity. Your child can stand up to the mean person tagging them and exclude them from their friends’ list; it’s just that they might not be able to do it alone. Perhaps you can offer suggestions. Talk about any childhood experiences you’ve sustained, so your kid feels less alone. 

It’s recommended to talk to your child about online issues, reassuring them that bullying is not their fault. The more you talk to your kid about bullying, the more comfortable they’ll feel telling you if they experience it, so check in daily and ask about their activities online. If you set screen time limits, explain your reasons for doing so – in other words, discuss the rules for online safety and Internet use. Don’t explain, help them understand. Suppose your kid witnesses bullying on social media. In that case, they should stand up for the victim, offer support, etc. The last thing you want to hear is that your child has gotten in trouble for picking on others. 

Wrapping It Up 

Bullying that takes place on social media is just as dangerous as other types of bullying, maybe even worse. Some tactics used by cyberbullies are creating memes aimed at humiliating the victim, sharing embarrassing photos, and impersonating someone online, to name a few. Depending on the type of bullying, a VPN may turn out to be useful. Attackers can’t go after your kid’s location data or use their online activity against them, so you might want to consider allowing your child to use one.