What is cyber bullying? – Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place using electronic technology such as mobile phones, computers and tablets as well as communication tools such as social media sites, text messages, chat, and websites.
Examples of cyberbullying include mean text messages, emails, rumors, embarrassing pictures or videos that someone doesn’t consent too, abusive websites or fake profiles.
Effects of Cyber Bullying
Phones and computers themselves are not to blame for cyberbullying. Social media sites can be used for positive activities such as connecting kids with friends and family, helping students with school and for entertainment. But these tools can also be used to hurt people. Whether done in person or through technology the effects of bullying are similar.
Children who are cyberbullied are more likely to:
Use alcohol and drugs
Experience in-person bullying
Be unwilling to attend school
Receive poor grades
Have lower self-esteem
Have more health problems
How To help – For Children And Teens–
Know that it’s not your fault. What people call “bullying” is sometimes an argument between two people. But if someone is repeatedly cruel to you, that’s bullying and you must not blame yourself. No one deserves to be treated cruelly.
Don’t respond or retaliate. Sometimes a reaction is exactly what aggressors are looking for because they think it gives them power over you, and you don’t want to power a bully. As for retaliating, getting back at a bully turns you into one – and can turn one mean act into a chain reaction. If you can remove yourself from the situation. If you can’t, sometimes humor disarms or distracts a person from bullying.
Save the evidence. The only good news about bullying online or on phones is that it can usually be captured/saved and shown to someone who can help. You can save that evidence in case things escalate. [Visit ConnectSafely.org/cyberbullying for instructions on how to capture screens on phones and computers.]
Tell the person to stop. This is completely up to you – don’t do it if you don’t feel totally comfortable doing it, because you need to make your position completely clear that you will not stand for this treatment any more. You may need to practice beforehand with someone you trust, like a parent or good friend.
Reach out for help – especially if the behavior’s really getting to you. You deserve backup. See if there’s someone who can listen, help you process what’s going on and work through it – a friend, relative or maybe an adult you trust.
Use available tech tools. Most social media apps and services allow you to block the person. Whether the harassment’s in an app, texting, comments or tagged photos, do yourself a favor and block the person. You can also report the problem to the service. That probably won’t end it, but you don’t need the harassment in your face, and you’ll be less tempted to respond. If you’re getting threats of physical harm, you should call your local police (with a parent or guardian’s help) and consider reporting it to school authorities.
Protect your accounts. Don’t share your passwords with anyone – even your closest friends, who may not be close forever – and password-protect your phone so no one can use it to impersonate you. You’ll find advice at passwords.connectsafely.org.
If someone you know is being bullied, take action. Just standing by can power an aggressor and does nothing to help. The best thing you can do is try to stop the bullying by taking a stand against it. If you can’t stop it, support the person being bullied. If the person’s a friend, you can listen and see how to help. Consider together whether you should report the bullying. If you’re not already friends, even a kind word can help reduce the pain. At the very least, help by not passing along a mean message and not giving positive attention to the person doing the bullying.