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  • Avoiding Peers, Skipping School, And Other Signs Your Child Might Be A Victim Of Cyberbullying

    Eight months into the year, the PNP has already recorded 16,297 cybercrime cases which includes anti-photo and video voyeurism, identity theft, and unjust vexation among others.
    by April Kristel Llana . Published Sep 30, 2023
Avoiding Peers, Skipping School, And Other Signs Your Child Might Be A Victim Of Cyberbullying
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  • Kids nowadays are exposed to the use of smartphones, tablets, and computers. Tweens and teens are particularly exposed to various social media platforms such as Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram. Almost 10% of Facebook users in the country as of December 2022 were kids aged 13 to 17, according to the Statista Research Department.

    For parents in the virtual age, kids’ access to online information can both be an advantage and a risk, as it comes with ease of research for studying and data gathering purposes. At the same time, it can pose digital threats. One of these threats can be in the form of cyberbullying, when someone uses the Internet or technology to harass, threaten, embarrass, or target another person.

    What’s worse, cyberbullying can be an opportunity where one can cause harm in the guise of anonymity so it’s more difficult to turn the perpetrator in or the act of bullying to an end.  

    From January to August this year alone, the Philippine National Police has already recorded 16,297 cybercrime cases which includes anti-photo and video voyeurism, identity theft, and unjust vexation, among others.  

    Common types of Cyberbullying

    Very Well Family summarizes cyberbullying into 5 types:

    1. Harassment

    This can be in forms of “text wars” or “attack wars” or posting mean, insulting words and comments to specifically torment or cause emotional distress to another person. 

    2. Impersonation

    This can happen when someone hacks into another person’s account and assumes his/her identity to post sexual, racist, offensive or inappropriate things. Creating fake accounts and sending messages through their behalf is an example, too. 

    3. Inappropriate Photographs

    This can happen when someone posts an embarrassing or inappropriate photo of the victim, sometimes taken without the victim knowing, or “slut shaming” where a girl is typically bullied for the way she dresses or the number of guys she’s been with/dated. 


    4. Website Creation 

    This can happen when someone creates a website, blog, or poll to harass another person.

    5. Video Shaming

    This can happen when the bully, or accomplices of the bully, video a shameful or embarrassing incident where one kid would bully another, sometimes in forms of punishment and violence, like kicking, slapping, punching, or hitting, with the goal of mass-spreading the recorded affair.   

    RELATED: Filipino Children Among Nationalities With Highest Exposure To Online Threats Globally, Says Study

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    Changes in behavior

    The effects of cyberbullying may be subtle to us parents, so let’s be vigilant of the warning signs that our children may have been victims of cyberbullying. These can manifest in changes in behavior. 


    Avoiding peers or social events, becoming quiet or withdrawn, skipping school


    Getting into trouble for revenge and retaliation, appearing angry when looking at phone or computer

    Grades dropping 

    Losing interest in schoolwork; could not focus, skipping school

    Physical issues 

    Gastrointestinal problems, sleep disturbances, eating disorder

    Use of drugs and alcohol

    Depression and anxiety

    Low self-esteem, expressing dark thoughts or emotions, suicidal thoughts, and self-harm 

    How do we protect our children from cyberbullying

    It is impossible to watch our children 24/7 so we teach and help them to protect themselves against online threats. 

    1. Set family rules. 

    As parents, we can set rules on smartphone usage and sharing of passwords, give them guidance who to accept as “friends” on social media platforms, including what to do and who to contact when someone bullies them like saving proof of misdemeanor and reporting to class adviser or school counselor.


    2. Be vigilant of the changes in behavior and take action.

    As parents, we should make sure that we create a safe space for our children to air out their fears and frustration. Our tweens and teens can be secretive about bullying because of shame and self-loathing, so when we notice changes in behavior mentioned above, let us make them feel that we are the best people they can run to when they need help or advice. When they do, drop everything and lend an ear. 

    3. Reiterate the value of “thinking before posting.”

    Sometimes adolescents can place themselves in a position where they gain unwanted attention of bashers just because of a seemingly innocent post but could trigger negative and hurtful comments. 

    4. Remind them of keeping things private.

    Our kids can be naïve and easily give personal information to a friend or someone they meet online. Remind them not to give essential information to avoid cases of identity theft or access to photos that should not be shared to other people. Make sure their privacy settings are set in a manner that strangers, particularly online sexual predators, cannot easily make them targets. 


    5. Teach them not to respond but document and report the incident.

    When our kids fight back or explain, the more powerful the bully becomes. Understand that kids cannot handle this alone so if they can document the incident like saving a screenshot or video being used to cause torment or harm, we can use this to file a report to the authority. 

    6. Report to Facebook or Instagram.

    Report abusive content, harassment, and bullying on relevant social media platforms like Facebook   and Instagram. You can check how Instagram stands against online bullying here.

    PHOTO BY Facebook

    PHOTO BY Instagram

    7. Take action against intimate images being shared without permission

    Report when someone shares intimate images being shared without permission. You may click here for additional information. In most cases, Meta can disable the account that shared, or threatened to share contents with inappropriate images.

    8. Prioritize mental health.


    Seek professional help if your child expresses thoughts of harming oneself or having suicidal thoughts. Doctors will be able to assess and counsel your children if they are having a decline in mental health. Alternatively, the National Center for Mental Health (NCMH) Crisis Hotline can provide 24/7, free, compassionate and confidential support over the phone to those who may be experiencing emotional distress including bullying. 

    PHOTO BY findahelpline.com

    SMART: +639 08639-2672 GLOBE: +639 663514518; +639 178998727 (USAP)

    Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012

    RA 10175 or the Cybercrime Prevention Act of 2012 details the following acts that constitute the offense of Cybercrime:

    (a) Offenses against the confidentiality, integrity and availability of computer data and systems

    (b) Computer-related Offenses (like forgery, fraud, and identity theft)

    (c) Content-related Offenses (like cybersex, child pornography, unsolicited commercial communication and libel)

    (d) Other offenses (aiding or abetting in the commission of cybercrime and attempt in the commission of cybercrime 

    Other Sources: UNICEF press center, Raising Children 

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