Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets. When a young person uses the Internet or technology to harass, threaten, embarrass, or target another person, this person is called a cyberbully. Typically, cyberbullying involves tweens and teens; but it’s not uncommon for adults to experience cyberbullying and public shaming as well.Even if someone deletes a mean post, chances are it’s still available in some form such as in a screenshot or a shared text message. Worse yet, those targeted by cyberbullies often don’t know who is bullying them, so they often have no way to bring it to an end.
Teens are online now more than ever. Every day they use their smartphones, tablets, and computers not only to research material for school but to socialize with friends and family members.In fact, texting and using social media is one of the top ways kids communicate with others. But just like any other social activity, the opportunity for bullying exists.
While there are a number of different ways kids are bullying others online, the majority of online harassment. Bullying may include the use of embarrassing or inappropriate images. A cyberbully also may impersonate another person, causing problems in that person’s life.Face-to-face bullying and cyberbullying can often happen alongside each other. But cyberbullying leaves a digital footprint – a record that can prove useful and provide evidence to help stop the abuse.
Anyone can become a victim of cyberbullying. If you see this happening to someone you know, try to offer support.
It is important to listen to your friend. Why don’t they want to report being cyberbullied? How are they feeling? Let them know that they don’t have to formally report anything, but it’s crucial to talk to someone who might be able to help.Remember, your friend may be feeling fragile. Be kind to them. Help them think through what they might say and to whom. Offer to go with them if they decide to report. Most importantly, remind them that you’re there for them and you want to help.
If your friend still does not want to report the incident, then support them in finding a trusted adult who can help them deal with the situation. Remember that in certain situations the consequences of cyberbullying can be life threatening.Doing nothing can leave the person feeling that everyone is against them or that nobody cares. Your words can make a difference.
Being online has so many benefits. However, like many things in life, it comes with risks that you need to protect against.
If you experience cyberbullying, you may want to delete certain apps or stay offline for a while to give yourself time to recover. But getting off the Internet is not a long-term solution. You did nothing wrong, so why should you be disadvantaged? It may even send the bullies the wrong signal encouraging their unacceptable behaviour. We all want cyberbullying to stop, which is one of the reasons reporting cyberbullying is so important. But creating the Internet we want goes beyond calling out bullying. We need to be thoughtful about what we share or say that may hurt others. We need to be kind to one another online and in real life. It’s up to all of us!
Categories: Social Issues