Cyberbullying: Get Help!
Posted by Youth Outreach
Now that virtually every teenager in America has a cell phone and access to the internet, “cyberbullying” is a new category of bullying that is affecting thousands of teens every single day.
Cyberbullying refers to any bullying that occurs using electronic technology, whether it be cell phones, computers, or tablets, and using things like social media sites, texting, chatting, and other websites to post or message hurtful things about somebody else. This can include saying mean things about the person, spreading rumors, embarrassing pictures or videos, or fake profiles that are used to target somebody. Whether these things are posted for the public to see or only sent to certain people, it is all considered cyberbullying.
Many people consider cyberbullying to be the worst kind of bullying, because:
- it can happen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and reach kids wherever they are
- messages and images can be posted anonymously and distributed quickly to a very wide audience
- it can be difficult/impossible to trace the source
- deleting those messages, texts, and pictures/videos can be difficult after they’ve been posted/sent
Kids who have been cyberbullied can be effected in several ways. They could:
- begin using drugs and alcohol to numb the pain
- skip school to avoid bullying
- experience in-person bullying because of the cyberbullying
- be unwilling to attend school in fear of being bullied
- receive poor grades due to lack of motivation
- have lower self-esteem
- have more health problems due to stress
If you, your child, or your friend seem to be a victim of cyberbullying, there are several things you should do. First, do NOT respond to the messages or posts, or forward them to anybody else. Responding will only create more problems. Just ignore them.
Make sure you keep the evidence: record the date and times of when the bullying occurred. Save and print emails and texts, and take screen shots of anything posted on a social media site or other website. You can use these to report cyberbullying to your web and cell phone providers, and also to the website. Make sure you block the person from being able to contact you on a social media site, and by phone.
It may also be necessary to report the bullying to law enforcement. This is appropriate when you feel there are threats of violence, sexually explicit messages/photos, stalking and hate crimes, and if the bully is taking photos/videos of someone in a place where they would expect privacy.
It is ALWAYS necessary to report cyberbullying to the school the victim attends. By law, schools are required to take some kind of action in cases of cyberbullying. Since cyberbullying can often be related to in-person bullying, the school can respond and prevent that from happening.
If you believe you are being cyberbullied, you are not alone. Studies show that about HALF of teenagers get cyberbullied at some point, and about 15% of them experience it regularly. If this is happening to you or a friend, report it and get help. Nobody should ever have to put up with any kind of bullying.
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Posted on October 4, 2013, in Bullying, Life, Safety, School, Technology and tagged bullying, cyberbullying, hate crimes, help, Prevention, social media, technology, teenagers, teens, texting. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.