|Schoolyard vs Online Bullying:What are the Signs|
When a child gets bullied at school, there’s a greater likelihood of physical bruises and slight injuries. But when he gets bullied online, the emotional and psychological torment can be much greater because there are fewer boundaries. Once a student leaves school, the bullying continues through text messages and social media.
Bullying is a very disturbing type of behavior manifested by children and teens. For many decades now, it has been a constant issue in American schools and although numerous steps have been taken to address the issue, there hasn’t been that much progress seen in finally stopping it. Just like any other form of criminal behavior, bullying has its way of instilling fear and anger in the victim. In many cases, children who are bullied can become bullies themselves in the near future.
But we sure have to put in mind that bullying is not really considered a crime in this part of the globe. It can reach a level to be considered a misdemeanor but the most important thing to understand here is that the ones responsible for it are actually children or teens. Thus, we may have to concede that bullying does not comprise criminal behavior, but rather an emotional or behavioral problem that needs to be addressed by the parents concerned.
At the same time, we also need to draw a fine line between bullying in person (schoolyard bullying) and online bullying by looking at the signs seen on the victim.
For the common type of schoolyard bullying, the most tangible sign is when your child suddenly hates going to school. The loss of interest in school may actually be caused by a bully threatening the poor child every time he gets out of the classroom for a break or after class. Bullies strike when there’s no adult present. And they strike hard to the extent of physically hurting their target. But because your child has no choice but to go to school, he has to make up a story or scene of some sort just to skip it. For instance, he would lie about school holidays and breaks or perhaps fake an illness like stomach cramps or headache just to avoid getting another bully day at school.
Another sign is a sudden decline in academic performance. As soon as he gets inside the classroom, he no longer has the same concentration on his studies because his mind is preoccupied with the recent threats given to him by the bully and all he thinks all day long is how to escape it. Furthermore, if he walks home from school, try to find out if he’s creating long and rather unusual routes just to get home. If he does, it is a sign that he’s avoiding something, or someone for that matter.
Online bullying on the other hand may have some similarities with the schoolyard type. But then again, their differences are clear as well. The truth is it can be more devastating to the victim emotionally and mentally.
The most important distinction is the absence of the identity of the bully, unlike in schoolyard bullying where the bully can easily be pointed out. What happens is the one harassing your child online may be using a fake name or identity for the reason of concealing his true person.
That’s why any victim of online bullying will always have to guess who might be responsible for it. That burden can consume a very young and innocent child to the extent of considering suicide. Bullying at school may occur numerous times, but when it gets bad enough, there’s always ways to apprehend the bully and prevent him from doing it again. But with online bullying, the torment, abuse, and harassment will not end so long as the bully is there to do it. There is very little chance of actually knowing who’s doing it since the identity is hidden. And as long as your child logs in to the computer to browse the web, he will continue to be bullied.
When it comes to the signs, you will know that your child is being bullied online when these things occur:
- He starts to avoid using the computer, internet, and even mobile phones.
- If he does use the internet, he becomes very shaky, uneasy, and stressed upon seeing new email messages, comments from social networks, or perhaps instant messages.
- He begins to downgrade the importance of the internet to his studies and even welcomes the idea of getting rid of the personal computer.
- Other social activities are affected like going out with friends, spending time with the family watching TV or having dinner, or perhaps declining to go to church.
- School assignments are ignored and grades are down.
- He manifests negative feelings like loneliness, anger, and stress more frequently.
To conclude, it really doesn’t matter what kind of bullying your child is subjected to. The most important thing is you have to get some good measures in order to stop it. Because if you don’t, there’s a great possibility that he will carry the emotional wounds as he grows old.