Ds being cyber bullied. What to do?

(16 Posts)
AnnabelleDarling Tue 29-Apr-14 18:45:11

Ds started in secondary in Sept and was doing fine until about mid October when he started having panic attacks about going to school. These became more frequent but because of waiting lists it was January when we started seeing a therapist for CBT. This really hasn't worked for him, he has just found it too 'pick apart' his thoughts but we have been persevering and his school attendance has improved. It has been very hard for him - some days I drop him to the school gate and I can literally see him shaking with anxiety as
he gets out of the car.

He has dyslexia and he is
very small for his age. He is
almost 14 but wears 9-10 yrs
in clothes. He has made some lovely friends though
and is very happy outside
school. He has told me about older pupils calling him names, but today after his therapy session he told me that some boys in his class hate him, seems they have said awful things about him in a FB group and on ask.fm. He says he has screen shots of this.

So what do I do? The school have been very supportive re the anxiety. Clearly this is a big reason for the anxiety over school, if I go to the school with the names is that going to make a difficult situation worse for ds. Of course I don't want them to get away with this but I imagine suggesting going to the school will send ds into a total panic.

MamaPain Tue 29-Apr-14 18:50:52

I don't have much experience of this, but from what you've said it seems that there are two directions; doing the right thing morally and doing what's right for your DS. I'm not sure if the two are the same unfortunately.

Does he have any friends at school? Why is he still at that school? Is the bullying the sole or main cause of anxiety? Maybe it would be an option to consider moving his school and then reporting the behaviour to the old head teacher.

Also it depends on his usage, but I think it might be an idea if he stopped FB and the other websites for a while or set up separate private accounts.

Theas18 Tue 29-Apr-14 18:53:25

Screen shots - great- school has to be involved. Cyber bullying is serious serious stuff.

Why not just close/delete the accounts too? Or am I being naive?

Also as a very basic measure all devices that can have internet access out if the bedroom. I understand the invasion of the place a child should be ( and used to be) safe ie home, bedroom and even in bed , by the bullies is why this is so much worse than other bullying.

Sorry your son is going through this. It's got to be dealt with. Police if school don't. I'd also think around possibly as school move. It must be awful to see him so unhappy. I'd also have a conversation to try to assess if he's safe - kids harm themselves over less sad.

Roseformeplease Tue 29-Apr-14 18:53:40

My attitude to this (and I am the parent of teens, and a teacher) is to tell DS and DD that nothing is private online and that I have all their passwords. They agreed to this as a condition of having social media. This means they can tell their friends that I monitor everything. It tends to prevent problems in the first place but ensures it can be stopped without them being blamed for telling.

The school will have seen plenty of this. I would "confiscate" all access to computers / phones etc unless supervised as well - not because he has done anything wrong but because you want him to feel safe. He can then tell others it is now with his Mum.

Keep all screenshots as well (back up elsewhere) and get him to avoid any social media that can't be kept easily (snap chat can be screen shotted, but you have to be quick).

This has happened to my daughter and she was much happier knowing I had all her gadgets - she felt safer. I would tell her if she got a message and we would open it together, or just delete it. Puts them back in control, with support.

Horrible, though. Computers let the bastards into your house and home.

whatadrama Tue 29-Apr-14 19:00:13

Get copies of the screenshots then go through every single site like Ask FM and delete, followed by blocking those individuals he suspects are causing this.

We dealt with this several months ago with DD. She was anxious about blocking those doing it for a few days but once she realised nothing hurt her if she didnt know about it she started to relax.

The girls doing it got bored very quickly and so far so good. I will add that the school were very supportive which made a huge difference so involve them as much as possible.

If your Ds is being harassed at school, the head of year needs to be told asap along with copies of the internet crap.

Its a horrible situation but once the bullies start invading your Dcs peace of mind at home things can really escalate fast so it needs dealing with asap sad

Go to the school. I wish my mum had encouraged me and supported me to report the bullying I suffered at school - maybe if I had, I wouldn't be having CBT now, to try to combat 35+ years of depression.

The fact that you are supporting him, believing him, being on his side, is hugely important, and will mean a lot to him, now and in the future.

AnnabelleDarling Tue 29-Apr-14 19:05:58

Thanks for replies, just doing homework with dd but will read properly when finished. The worst thing is that he thinks it's normal for this sort of thing to happen hmm

HolidayCriminal Tue 29-Apr-14 19:11:56

If he's almost 14 & just started secondary, where are you, Annabelle?

Nocomet Tue 29-Apr-14 19:16:21

It's not normal and school should come down on them like a ton of bricks.

Unlike the insidious shit DD1 used to get, snide comments being left out at break and group work in lessons, having stuff hidden, cyber bullying leaves evidence - keep it and use it!

LynetteScavo Tue 29-Apr-14 19:17:38

Why is he even on askfm? Ds1s school have firmly asked parents that no child uses askfm at all.

Definitely inform the school. These bullies should be under no illusion they can get away with this.

ForgiveMeFather Tue 29-Apr-14 19:25:00

So sorry to hear this OP.

My DD suffered the same at school. She self harmed and became suicidal.

I don't want to alarm you but bullying is very serious stuff. Your son is already showing physical signs of stress but you should be aware that he could well be burying an awful lot of what he is actually feeling.

He has confided in you already which is a good thing but please be aware that what he has disclosed to you may only be the tip of the iceberg.

Yours sons mental health and well being is more important than anything else right now.

Insist that the school take firmer action, get screen shots of everything.

Consider calling the police if necessary (infact just do it anyway) and tell your son that he has to trust you and tell you everything.

I am tempted to suggest shutting down the social networking accounts that your son uses although at the moment it might be best to keep them running so that you have evidence of what is being said/planned.

Feel free to pm me if you need to.

We are lucky to still have our daughter with us. It was an awful time but she is doing really well now x

AnnabelleDarling Tue 29-Apr-14 23:16:49

Thanks for all your input, really appreciate it. I am feeling a bit shell shocked but will get on to the school in the morning. Ds happier tonight going to bed, think he's relieved to have told me. He has a lovely friendship group in school but they are in a different form. I had asked to school to move him into the form with his friends but they said they couldn't as all forms were full. Ds says he would feel more confident if he was with his friends, not so vulnerable. I am going to try to press them into moving him now. Poor boy.

We are in Ireland btw, don't start secondary until 12/13. Longer holidays too - ds finished end of May until September. He can't wait.

whatadrama Wed 30-Apr-14 11:32:50

Lucky boy finishing in May!

Stick to your guns about the school moving him into a better group, everythings possible smile

Bunbaker Wed 07-May-14 18:14:46

I want to reiterate that the school needs to know. They will come down on the perpetrators like a tone of bricks if the school is any good.

DD was bullied in year 7 and her school was brilliant. I know they won't tolerate bullying, but they need to know about it to be able to deal with it.

The fact that your son has a nice friendship group is encouraging.

isitsnowingyet Thu 08-May-14 17:28:44

Another vote here for telling the school and name names if you have them. How else will they be stopped? I wouldn't consider moving schools unless all other options have been explored

shey02 Sun 11-May-14 00:16:30

It was a while back, but dd had a similar thing. We took screen shots of everything, printed them for the school Head of Year and put into a transcript. Also together, rather cunningly, I thought, we directly messaged the children that were doing the bullying. We asked them to politley stop and these bastards thinking they were messaging dd totally incriminated themselves. Got the most hateful, malicious messages back. Voila. Transcripted and screenshotted those too and took it all in to the Head of Year and full credit to them, they came down hard on them. It ended that day. Parents were in and everything.

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