Withdrawal, nervousness, and physical changes are some of the most common signs of cyberbullying in Oklahoma.
Whoever came up with that “sticks and stones may break my bones” adage had obviously never been bullied. Words hurt, and in Oklahoma, bullying may be illegal.
The Sooner State has a rather broad criminal law regarding threatening electronic communications. 21 Okla. Stat. Ann. §1172 applies to any lewd or obscene electronic communication, an anonymous communication intended to harass the recipient, or a direct or indirect threat of bodily injury. That definition could apply to almost anything. Additionally, repeated cyberbullying incidents may fall under Oklahoma’s stalking law.
As many as 40% of children under age 18 have been the victims of cyberbullying. Since most of these children do not inform their parents, it is important for caregivers to know some common cyberbullying signs.
Reluctance to Attend School
Admittedly, most kids, whether they are bullied or not, are reluctant to attend school. But bullying victims repeatedly state that they do not want to go to school. When pressed as to the reason, they often give inconsistent responses. Alternatively, bullied kids may repeatedly call home and ask to be picked up early. These responses are especially common if another child has made a direct threat.
Many cyberbullying victims try to conceal their online activity and text message logs. Also look for deleted web browsing histories or deleted messages in social media accounts. As mentioned, most cyberbullying victims are afraid to speak out. So, online secrecy may be a sign of serious cyberbullying or even online stalking.
Sometimes, victims try to hide their laptops, phones, or other devices. These victims may become jumpy or nervous when a caregiver is in the room while they use their devices. Try to restrict device use to common areas of the house. That is one of the best ways to keep tabs on children without spying on them.
Often, cyberbullying victims change their social habits and hobbies in an effort to fit in and stop the bullying. Such behavior may actually be a good time for caregivers to intervene. The child is feeling the effects of bullying, but the situation may not be terribly serious, at least not yet.
Cyberbullying victims often have trouble sleeping at night. They cannot quiet their minds sufficiently to rest when they are being tormented online. That sleeplessness creates fatigue which makes it difficult to deal with bullying issues during the day, and the downward spiral begins.
Inexplicable Weight or Health Changes
Sometimes, this cycle spirals to the point of creating physical symptoms. Weight loss due to stress and weight gain due to stress eating are two of the most common signs. Other physical effects could include stress/health issues, like stomach aches and nausea. If cyberbullying progresses to this point, that is a big red flag.
Many cyberbullying victims overreact and try to push everyone away, including the bully. Victims may isolate themselves in their rooms or half-heartedly participate in activities with family or friends. Be sure your child knows that the family is there if he or she needs to talk about anything.
Contact an Assertive Lawyer
Cyberbullying is a serious problem in Oklahoma. For a free consultation with an experienced criminal defense attorney in Ponca City, contact BDIW Law. After-hours visits are available.