Online Learning Environments Pose New Avenues for Cyberbullying
Bullying is a generations-old concept that has become incredibly pervasive in recent years. School bullying in particular can have a serious impact on a child’s life, including potentially threatening or actually taking his or her own life. With the increased use of technology, bullies have found more ways to harm their victims. Known as cyberbullying, bullies can make threats through social media outlets, text messages, email, or instant messages. Since the COVID-19 pandemic, many schools around the world have been completely shut down for in-person instruction. Virtual learning and online classrooms via the Zoom platform have taken over as the “new normal” for school-aged kids. In recent months, a new avenue for cyberbullying has emerged. Zoom’s chatrooms allow students to send instant messages to each other, but this platform is now being used to bully other students. For example, some students are receiving threatening messages or are being harassed about their environment at home. According to Dr. Karen Wohlheiter, a child psychologist at Nemours/A.I. DuPont Hospital for Children, “kids are getting teased, sometimes, for either what they have in their background or maybe what they don’t have, if it’s a household where there’s not a lot of resources there[.]” Victims of cyberbullying can experience significant negative effects on the child’s mental and physical health. Key warning signs of cyberbullying that parents can look out for include changes in mood, sleep, or eating habits; a sudden reluctance or increased nervousness to log on to their online classes; and finding ways to avoid their online classes, such as by saying they are logged on when they are not. If your child has sustained mental or physical injuries, or has taken his or her own life after being cyberbullied, contact us today at (855) 244-2031 to schedule a free consultation. You may also send us a message through our online contact page. We accept cyberbullying cases nationwide.