I have written that bullying is one of the most dangerous risk factors for triggering serious child and teen mental disorders (including depression, even psychosis and schizophrenia in a genetically vulnerable person) and, as we’ve seen, can even bring teens to suicide. Read this article by Dr. Michele Borba, on http://www.schoolandfamily.com. Borba is an expert and author on issues involving children and teens, parenting, bullying, and moral development, to find out the telltale signs that your child may be a victim…since, as we all know, tweens and teens are likely not to tell by choice. —MentalHealthMomBlog.
As parents, we must do a better job of tuning into our kids. Read the warning signs of cyber bullying (below) and then talk with other parents, teachers, babysitters, counselors, and child workers about them. Print out the warnings and give them to coaches, Scout leaders, Boys and Girls Club leaders, doctors, school officials, and to teens and tweens. Send the list to the local newspaper to print. Ask your child’s school to post the list on their website. Get active and get your community involved. Here’s what to watch out for:
- Your son is hesitant to be online or unexpectedly stops or avoids using the computer
- Your daughter is nervous when an instant message, text, or email appears
- Your son is visibly upset, angry, or depressed after using the computer or his cell phone
- Your daughter hides or clears the computer screen or her cell phone screen when you enter or doesn’t want to talk about online activity
- Your son starts using the computer when you’re not in the room
- Your daughter keeps going back and forth to check the computer screen in shorter spurts
- Your son withdraws from friends; wants to avoid school or peer activities; is uneasy about going outside in general; an/or pulls away from family members
- Your daughter is suddenly sullen, evasive withdrawn, or has a marked change in personality or behavior
- Your son has trouble sleeping, loss of appetite, is excessively moody, cries easily, or seems depressed
- Suspicious phone calls, e-mails, and packages arrives at your home
- Your child has a drop in academic performance or falls behind in schoolwork
A key that you shouldn’t overlook is a sudden change—something that isn’t t your child’s “normal” behavior—that lasts daily, for at least two weeks. But even then, use your instincts! If you are concerned, don’t wait—get your child some help!