Guest Blog Post: Ten Signs of Cyber Abuse by Dave Baker

Truecare.net helps parents know when their children are being bullied online.

Did you know that more than half of America’s teens are exposed to cyber bullying? Studies show this form of abuse is growing at a very fast pace. Cyber bullying includes rumors, threats, gossip and humiliation and happens through e-mail, websites, blogs, chat rooms, text and instant messaging, and videos. Cyber bullying statistics point to devastating effects on victims, such as bad grades, emotional stress, depression, poor self-esteem, sleep disorders, headaches, stomach pains and in some cases, suicide.

As your kids get ready to go back to school, now is the time to think about Internet safety and how to recognize the signs of cyber abuse. As you check off items on your child’s school supply list, you should also be thinking about how to protect your child from what can happen on the Internet.

As technology advances and new forms of online social networking emerge, child safety on the Internet is of critical importance. We want parents to know that cyber bullying is very real, sometimes very subtle, and there are things you can do to help prevent it.

Knowing the signs of cyber abuse is the first step. Here are 10 signs that your child might be a victim:

1. Your child becomes secretive about what they are doing online
2. Uses computers outside of home, such as at homes of friends, Internet cafes, or libraries
3. Has a sudden decline in homework or grades
4. Doesn’t feel well, complains of headaches, stomach aches or nervousness
5. Is restless, has difficulty sleeping
6. Shows changes in behavior or has mood swings
7. Becomes withdrawn or displays low self-esteem
8. Does not want to go to school or socialize
9. Avoids telling you who their online friends are
10. No longer wants to use the computer or cell phone

TrueCare.net recommends that parents get involved and monitor their child’s online relationships and that they set rules and limits for using the internet and social networking sites, while reminding children that they trust them, but don’t trust the other people out there. A 60 day free trial of TrueCare is available for SafetyMom readers by visiting: http://www.truecare.net/60Days.

About Dave Barker

Dave Barker works for TrueCare. TrueCare is a unique social media monitoring product designed by parents as a way to effectively monitor their child’s online social networking activity without invading their child’s privacy. TrueCare automatically tracks your child’s social networking sites – MySpace, Facebook and Twitter – for inappropriate content and sends you an e-mail alert in real-time when it finds something concerning. For more information, visit http://www.truecare.net/60Days.

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