The effects of bullying aren’t always temporary, either. Bullying can cause depression, anxiety, insomnia, lack of focus in school and numerous long-term effects.
Not every child is a victim of bullying, but just because your kid doesn’t talk about bullies or show clear signs of being bullied, doesn’t mean it isn’t happening. Signs of cyberbullying can be especially hard to identify, but with these tips from StopBullying.gov, parents can stay alert to make sure their kid isn’t suffering in silence.
Social Media1 of 11
It may sound silly, but if your child doesn't want you to see their social media accounts, it could be because they don't want you to see what bullies are posting about them or commenting on their posts. Privacy is important, however, so it's up to parents to set boundaries they are comfortable with for their own kids—just know that keeping low-key tabs on your child's social media could be the fastest way to spot a potential threat.
Unexplained Injuries2 of 11
Accidents happen at school and random injuries are common, but if you have any inclination that your child isn't being completely honest about how they got a bruise or scrape, call their teacher to see what happened.
Lost or Destroyed Personal Items3 of 11
True, kids tend to lose things. But pay attention to the day-to-day wear and tear of your child's items—it can tell you a lot about what's going on at school.
Frequent or Fake Illness4 of 11
Every kid has tried skipping school to stay home and watch cartoons, but faking illnesses or frequent headaches can be a sign that your kid is dealing with anxiety or depression and trying to avoid confrontation with a bully.
Changes in Eating Habits5 of 11
Kids may come home from school hungry because they didn't eat lunch, or skip dinner only to binge eat at night. Watch what your kid is eating and take changes in their habits seriously.
Difficulty Sleeping or Frequent Nightmares6 of 11
It can be tough to tell if your child is staying up all night on social media or if getting all their homework done is the problem, but if they're constantly tired or lethargic, they could be having trouble sleeping due to stress from bullying. Look out for puffy eyes, too—a clear sign of late-night tear sessions.
Disinterest in School7 of 11
If your child's grades suddenly decline, or if they used to be interested in their schoolwork and now they never talk about it, it could be because they're too distracted during class.
Sudden Loss of Friends or Avoidance of Social Situations8 of 11
If your kid never talks about their friends anymore and is suddenly spending less time in social settings with their peers, it might be time to start asking some questions. As a parent, you typically know if your kid is shy, so if they're not and they suddenly never talk about their friends, that could be a red flag.
Decreased Self-Esteem9 of 11
Sudden complaints about the way they look or attempting drastic changes to their appearance could be a result of being bullied. The majority of bullying issues involve looks—followed by weight and race.
Self-Destructive Behaviors10 of 11
Running away from home, harming themselves or talking about suicide can all be signs of bullying and should never, ever be ignored.