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How to spot bullying behavior in your own kid

I'm the Parenting Editor at Common Sense Media, and I started blogging to help families navigate the complex world of media and technology in kids' lives. I'm a family-technology expert who specializes in approaching media literacy is...

What to do if you suspect your child is a bully

October is National Bullying Prevention Month. Do you know how to recognize and prevent cyberbullying?

Kids with a history of face-to-face bullying could start to cyberbully too. If your child has a history of real life bullying, you're right to be concerned.

These are some signs that could point toward a cyberbullying problem — or some other emotional issue that needs attention:

  • Behavior changes — Is your normally happy kid grumpy, aggressive or defiant?
  • Slipping grades — Is schoolwork suffering or inconsistent?
  • Moodiness — Is your child only happy when he or she is texting or using the computer — or happy only when not doing it?
  • Habitual use — Is his phone constantly buzzing? Is she using the computer or texting at all hours?
  • Secretive or evasive behavior — Does your kid hide her phone or other devices? Does he switch screens quickly when you walk by?
  • Multiple accounts — Does your kid have several online profiles for one social network, each with a different username and email address?

If you notice any of these behaviors, talk to your child about what you see. If necessary, enlist the help of others, including teachers, family members, clergy or therapists to get to the root of the problem. If you find out your child has been bullying others online, come up with a plan to address the damages, including apologizing to those who have been hurt and limiting the use of digital devices.

Find age-specific guidelines, videos, and articles to help with tough conversations at Common Sense Media's cyberbullying content hub.

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