Online bullying has some of the most devastating effects on children and teens around the globe:
- only 38% of children admit to their parents/guardians that they have been bullied online;
- 33% of teens say they have sent explicit photos to someone else;
- more than 60% of children that have been harassed online have mental health issues; and
- more than 60% of female victims feel powerless because of online bullying
On a global level we see how such online abuse effects children of all ages. Across the central division in Fiji many students have also indicate experiencing online bullying at least once this year.
Children may not want to tell you if they are being bullied but here are some signs to look out for:
- Rapid increase or decrease in weight;
- Severe mood swings;
- Losing interesting in being around family and friends;
- Not wanting to go online anymore;
These changes are often subtle but vigilance is key. And having open dialogue about online safety and responsibility with your child is important.
What can I do to help?
Remember to remain calm and have an open conversation with your child. Let them know that they are not alone. Set up screen time and allow them to only use the devices in a common area such as the living room.
Fijians value community and we can express this same value in our online communities. Social media apps like Facebook give us an opportunity to build virtually any community we like. And this starts at home, stop the spread of online bullying by talking to your children today.