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Cyberbullying: What It Is and What We Can Do About It

Cyberbullying: What It Is and What We Can Do About It

Cyberbullying is a hot topic these days. It’s been in the news and on our minds as we worry about the lasting effects of social media. 

But what exactly is cyberbullying? 

And how can we stop it from happening to others or ourselves? 

This article will explore those questions, taking a close look at what cyberbullying is and some tips for stopping it. 

Let’s get started!

What is cyberbullying ?

Cyberbullying is the use of technology (including social media) to harass, intimidate or spread mean messages about someone else. Cyberbullying: What It Is and What We Can Do About It

If you’ve ever heard someone say “Don’t read the comments”, they were probably saying it because of cyberbullying which is when somebody uses technology to hurt another person's feelings, make them feel bad or threaten them (most of the time, anonymously).

Types of Cyberbullying    

There are several different types of cyberbullying:

  • Sending mean, threatening or aggressive text messages.
  • Disseminating embarrassing photos or videos.
  • Sending hate - filled emails or instant messages.
  • Using someone’s social media account to send threatening or hurtful messages.
  • Creating fake profiles that are used to bully others.   

How does it start?

Once you know what cyberbullying is, it’s time to learn how bullying happens. 

There are two ways this usually starts:

  • An argument or disagreement that occurs between two people online, often over social media like Facebook or Twitter. The situation gets out of hand and a photo or video is shared as a way to humiliate the other party. Sometimes these things happen “by accident” when a friend tags somebody in a photo without asking first, however, once it’s been posted for the world to see, there’s no going back from that!

  • Intentionally hurting another person by posting rumours or embarrassing information about them on social media sites such as Tumblr, Instagram and more. It’s a way to get back at somebody who hurt you or get revenge for a past event.

What can people do to stop cyberbullying ?

Now that you know what cyberbullying is and how it can start, let’s talk about some tips on how to handle it when it happens.

Remember: You don't have to be a victim of bullying!

Check out the following strategies:

Tell someone close to you about the problem  

If somebody posts embarrassing information about you on social media, you should tell a parent or another adult in your life.

They probably won’t love hearing this news but they could help resolve the situation and put an end to the hurtful messages.

In fact, they could help by making sure that this kind of cyber bullying doesn’t happen again.

Ignore it

If you are being bullied online, hard as it is, sometimes the best thing to do is just ignore it.

Cyberbullies are looking for a reaction, and most of the time, if you don't give them one, they'll eventually stop.

If ignoring your bullies doesn't put a stop to it, try blocking them - this way they won't be able to message or tag you on social media sites but you can also pretend they don't exist because nothing embarrassing will pop up when you google their name.

Report it

If somebody posts a photo or video of you without your permission, report it as soon as possible.

These images could be used to bully others and this is against the rules on most social media sites.

It also helps if you block the person who posted the image - preventing them from tagging and messaging you again.

Change your privacy settings

You might not want to do this but changing your privacy settings on certain social media accounts (such as Facebook) will keep people from sharing embarrassing photos of you online.

After all, it's easier to find embarrassing photos of somebody online than it is to sneak into their house and steal their phone...

Drive cyberbullies away with positivity  

Remember that if people pick on you online, they probably aren't too happy about their own lives.

As such, it can be difficult for them to handle somebody else’s happiness and success (in this case: yours).

Keep this in mind and try not to let bullies see your sadness or anger because that would be giving them what they want.

Instead of getting mad at them, show them how great life really is and accept the fact that there will always be mean people out there but as long as you stay positive, life will be better.

Don't retaliate against bullies  

Do not take revenge on those who have been bullying you - whether it's through social media or by gossiping about them to your friends, retaliating against bullies makes you no better than they are.

Instead, take the high road, be a positive role model to others and they'll be able to see that you can beat them without resorting to the same tactics!

The consequences of cyberbullying

These can be severe, even when you’re just a bystander watching it happen. By sticking up for the person being bullied, you’ll show that standing together can make a difference in a bad situation.

Block or hide unwanted messages from other people  

Personalise the settings on your social media accounts so that when someone tags you in a photo without your permission, you can change how it appears by hiding them from certain people or blocking them entirely - it could also mean removing their name from your follower list if they are causing you trouble.

All in all, there are many different strategies that can help you during the bullying process. 

It just takes a little common sense and creativity in order to deal with it in a healthy way!

Once you’re able to see past the hurtful comments and threats made online, your life is going to be much easier and better for it.

Resources for victims of cyberbullying

If someone is sending you threatening messages or posting embarrassing photos of you online, it’s important that you tell an adult immediately.

This could help stop cyberbullying from spreading to other websites and social media accounts and ensures other people aren’t being exposed to your bullies.

Some adults who should be notified include:

  • A parent/guardian/caregiver
  • A teacher
  • The police (if there are death threats involved)

These actions may not stop the bullying, however, they will allow others who can help solve these problems to know about it as soon as possible.

You might also want to contact the school district as cyberbullies could be breaking laws by spreading compromising photos of minors on social media sites.

No matter how bad the bullying gets, you should never give up on yourself because it’s not your fault that somebody is doing this to you. Stay strong and remember that this too shall pass.

Some websites to check out if you need additional help dealing with cyberbullying:

  • StopBullying.gov (a great source of information about what cyberbullying is).

  • Cyberbully (an online game about cyberbullying).

  • ConnectSafely (a non-profit website dedicated to educating users about social media dangers like sharing embarrassing photos of people which can lead to bullying situations)

Cyberbullying isn’t something new - children have been bullied through computers since they were first introduced into homes during the 1980s.

However, cyberbullying has evolved over the years and it’s important that we understand what this type of bullying entails so that we can avoid all forms of toxicity in future relationships.

If you think somebody is cyber bullying you online, try to get proof by saving email messages, texts or screenshots before reporting them to your parents or teachers.

Resources for parents on how to help their children prevent being a victim of cyber bullying

If you’re a parent of a school-aged child, it’s important to understand how cyberbullying could affect your child in the future.

You should always allow them access to social media sites but setting up parental controls and monitoring their activities is recommended.

Some things that parents can do include:

  • Helping children create secure passwords for their accounts (and enforcing these rules).

  • Preventing their children from sharing personal information online, like home or school addresses or telephone numbers.

  • Monitoring the websites that they visit every day (especially if there are other people on these sites who could post negative comments about your children without permission).

  • Parents should also teach their kids what cyberbullying is so they know what to avoid in future. Many teens think it’s perfectly OK to post embarrassing comments about people without their permission but if they learned how these actions could damage relationships, they would rethink what they shared online.

  • If your children come to you because somebody is bullying them online, make sure you keep an open line of communication with them and help stop this person from continuing their harmful behaviour. This type of emotional abuse is unacceptable in real life and so should never be allowed in the virtual world either!

Wrapping Up:

Cyberbullying is a type of bullying that can be extremely damaging to the victim. 

It can involve sending threatening messages or posting embarrassing photos of someone online.

If you are being cyberbullied, it's important to tell an adult immediately so they can help stop the bullying from spreading.

You might also want to contact the school district as cyberbullies could be breaking laws by spreading compromising photos of minors on social media sites.

The most important thing to remember is that none of it is your fault - you did not invite this in and the best thing you can do for yourself and others is to tell someone.

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