In a recent post I talked about 5 behaviors that might indicate that that your child is a cyberbully. In addition to behaviors, researchers have also profiled cyberbullies to figure out what personality characteristics are common among those who engage in online bullying.
Do any of these traits describe your child?
Characteristics of a cyberbully
- May be introverts, underdogs or underachievers.
- May have low self-esteem.
- Often feels like a victim themselves.
- May not know how to express anger in an appropriate manner.
- Would be unlikely to say to someone’s face what they say in cyberspace (especially if there’s a parent or teacher to witness it).
- Use the Internet as a way to “get even” or vent their frustrations.
- Often unwilling to take responsibility for their actions.
If this sounds like your child, look for behaviors that correspond to cyberbullying
. Having these personality traits alone does not guarantee that your child is a cyberbully, but they may be warning signs. The same characteristics may also be indicators of depression, inability to cope or other mental or emotional distress.Cyberbulling may be a sign of a much deeper mental illness that requires treatment and ongoing attention.
In my next post in this series, I’ll talk about what to do if your child is an online bully and how to get them the treatment they may desperately need.
Amercian Humane Association. (n.d.). Cyber Bullying Prevention and Intervention. Retrieved November 19, 2012, from http://www.americanhumane.org/children/stop-child-abuse/fact-sheets/cyber-bullying-prevention-and-intervention.html
Hinduja, S., & Patchin, J. W. (n.d.). Cyberbulling: Indentification, prevention and response. Retrieved from http://www.cyberbullying.us/Cyberbullying_Identification_Prevention_Response_Fact_Sheet.pdf
PureSight Online Child Saftey (Author). (n.d.). What should I do if my child is a cyberbully? Retrieved November 19, 2012, from http://www.puresight.com/Cyberbullying/what-should-i-do-if-my-child-is-a-cyber-bully.html
StopBullying.gov. (n.d.). Warning signs. Retrieved 2012, 2012, from http://www.stopbullying.gov/at-risk/warning-signs/index.html#bullying
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Sarah Elaine Eaton is a faculty member in the Werklund School of Education, University of Calgary, Canada.