Cyberbullying: Learn the Signs

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Cyberbullying is Hard to Notice. Because teachers and parents may not overhear or see cyberbullying taking place, it is harder to recognize. Some warning signs to notice include:

computer icon - signs your child is a cyberbully

More Computer & Tablet Use

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More Texting

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Overly Emotional


lock in message bubble icon - signs of cyberbullying

Hiding Activity


impact bully icon Suggested: sad person in chair icon - warning signs cyberbullying

Sitting Isolated


Many of the warning signs that cyberbullying is occurring happen around a child’s use of their device. Some of the warning signs that a child may be involved in cyberbullying are:

  • Noticeable increases or decreases in device use, including texting.
  • A child exhibits emotional responses (laughter, anger, upset) to what is happening on their device.
  • A child hides their screen or device when others are near, and avoids discussion about what they are doing on their device.
  • Social media accounts are shut down or new ones appear.
  • A child starts to avoid social situations, even those that were enjoyed in the past.
  • A child becomes withdrawn or depressed, or loses interest in people and activities.

Parents play a key role in preventing and responding to bullying. If you know or suspect that your child is being bullied or is acting as a cyberbully, there are several resources that may help.

Utilize tips and tools to talk to your child1 about cyberbullying. Opening lines of communication before your child is involved in bullying makes it easier for them to tell you when something happens. It is also important to work with a school2 to help prevent bullying before it starts.

girl being cyberbullied - prevent cyberbullying

How to prevent cyberbullying: What kids & teens should know

  • Never respond to harassing or rude comments.
  • Save or print the evidence.
  • Talk to your parents or guardian if you are harassed; get help reporting this to your ISP, school, or local law enforcement.
  • Respect others online.
  • Only share your password with your parent or guardian.
  • Change your passwords often.
  • Password protect your cell phone.
  • Use privacy settings to block unwanted messages.
  • Think before posting or sending photos – they could be used to hurt you.
  • Contact the site administrator if someone creates a social networking page in your name.
References & Sources
  1. Tips on how to talk with your kids about bullying. STOPBULLYING.GOV
  2. How to work with your child’s school. STOPBULLYING.GOV



2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

The 2008–2009 School Crime Supplement (National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics).

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Parenting Resource Center

Cyberbullying: Learn the Signs