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Signs your kid is being cyberbullied

By Jennifer L. Nelson, Parenting
Only 5 percent of middle-schoolers tell their parents when they're being cyberbullied.
Only 5 percent of middle-schoolers tell their parents when they're being cyberbullied.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • 5 percent of middle-schoolers tell their parents when they're the victims of cyberbullying
  • Watch for hints that something is going on in your child's technology-driven world
  • If your child withdraws socially or fears using her cellphone, take action

Bullying is in our schools, and now it's online. Why do kids do it? What can be done to put an end to it? Don't miss an "AC360°" special report in collaboration with Cartoon Network: "Stop Bullying: Speak Up," starting Monday night at 10 ET on CNN.

(Parenting.com) -- It's possible that you won't even know -- studies show that only 5 percent of middle-schoolers tell their parents when they're the victims of cyberbullying (a disturbing statistic, if we ever saw one).

Speak out on bullying in U.S. schools

Watch for these clues that something's going on in your child's online world, then get involved:

Parenting.com: Should schools punish cyberbullies?

1. Social withdrawal

Your tween stops playing games online or using the phone, and her comrades are mysteriously MIA.

"Most online attacks are launched by friends who know their passwords... and their secrets," says cyber lawyer Parry Aftab, founder of Stopcyberbullying.org.

Parenting.com: 13 ways you can help your child stand up under social pressure

2. Fear of technology

Your child spends her evenings catching up on her reading (not that that's a bad thing) instead of logging on, and appears nervous when text messages pop up.

Parenting.com: New AOL service tracks kids' social media usage

3. Bad behavior

Video: Websites take on bullying
Video: The internet and cyber bullying
RELATED TOPICS
  • Bullying
  • Parenting
  • Family
  • Internet
  • Technology

"Younger kids will misbehave when they're tired, but when tweens act out, there's a good chance it's because someone is making their life miserable," says Monica Vila of Theonlinemom.com.

Parenting.com: Social networking sites for kids

4. Ask around

Odds are your 12-year-old told her best pal about the cruel comments made about her weight in a chat room, then she told her mom. Check in with parents you trust.

Parenting.com: 4 fixes for tween school-anxiety

5. See for yourself

If all else fails, Internet parental controls and monitoring software -- as well as regular, honest chats about your kid's online life -- can help you identify an elusive bully.

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