CyberBullying: A Word for Kids and Teens
Cyberbullying is a phrase you may hear all the time, but it takes many different forms and meanings. Bullying is something that many children and teens go through in school, on the bus, and within groups of friends. However, cyberbullying is even more common because most kids don’t even realize they are doing it!
It’s never fun to be bullied, in the real world or on the web through social media. It’s even worse to be the bully, yet it’s easy to be do it online… even by accident. The internet can bring out passive aggressive behavior, even in the most outspoken person.
When you have a problem with somebody, do you face them with it… or do you Facebook it?
Taking drama to the web creates a whole new set of problems. Remember that you can work out a problem with a friend, but you can never erase something that was said or done online. So before you post that rant, stop and think if it can hurt somebody else.
Even if you feel like somebody has been mean or unfair to you, you won’t want to stoop to their level.
You won’t be able to take it back, and you will have more good friends when you show that you can take the high road and treat others with respect.
Are You Being CyberBullied?
Think before you tweet, update your status, post a picture, or put anything on the net. Remember that anybody can save and share your updates, so it’s a good idea to avoid posting anything impulsively. It might come back to haunt you. That general rule of thumb is especially important to follow when somebody is attacking or bullying you online.
Sometimes you have to start by asking why somebody is trying to hurt you.
- If it is a friend who is upset with you, perhaps you did something to hurt them? The best response would be to take your drama offline and try to talk it out—in the real world or on the phone. Eliminate the audience and it will be just the two of you, looking for a resolution to end the drama.
- If there is a group of people you don’t know that well who are “ganging up on you”, they may be the friends of somebody who is upset with you. There could be rumors or numerous direct attacks. Do not respond to any kind of attack coming from somebody you do not know. If you know who the original source is, deal with them directly.
Knowing why does not always put an end to cyberbullying, but neither does “feeding the trolls”. You don’t want to just ignore cyberbullying and wait for it to go away either. So if the harassment is taking on a level that is really troubling you, please tell your parents or somebody in your school.
A Few Steps to Protect Yourself From CyberBullying
- Face your problems. Never “Facebook” your problems.
- Think before you post.
- Always be kind and respectful, and surround yourself with friends who are also kind and respectful.
- Be careful around people your age who are always ‘surrounded by drama’. You never know when you’ll get sucked into it!
- Never, ever let anybody know your password. Protect your social media accounts from being “hacked” by changing your password every so often. If you use a smart phone never leave it unattended.
What Can You Do if You are Being Cyber Bullied
- Don’t respond to messages and never retaliate. It will only ad fuel to the fire and escalate the cyberbullying.
- Tell an adult you trust, such as a parent, teacher or coach. If they don’t offer you any real solutions, then search for a trusted adult who is better equipped to offer advice, such as a school councilor.
- Save all evidence. Do not delete any communications. Be sure to keep electronic copies and print-outs in case things escalate. This will empower you to allow justice to be served against the cyberbully.
- Keep records of ISP and law enforcement contacts. If the cyberbully continues to harass you, contact their Internet Service Provider (ISP).
- Save all information that contains even a hint of a threat and contact law enforcement.
- Block the harasser after you have made copies of all communication.
Read how you can stand up against a verbally abusive bully.
Here is an article about cyberBullying written for Parents.