Technology is pretty cool.
Some people use the internet, cell phones, or other technology to try to embarrass or hurt others. They target people who are weaker than they feel they are. This cruel behavior can happen over and over again. This type of bullying is called cyberbullying. People who cyberbully use email, social media sites or apps, text messages, photo messages, or video messages, or any other form of electronic communication. Cyberbullying often happens between people who know each other in real life.
Cyberbullying is seriously wrong. Person who are cyberbullied may become depressed, become physically ill, feel bad about themselves, start making bad grades in school, stop seeing friends, or become a loner. People who cyberbully often get in trouble at school and with their parents, lose other’s trust, and face legal charges. Digital spaces are not a “safe zone” for bullying. People who cyberbully will get caught.
Would you recognize cyberbullying?
While messaging on line, one gets another to write some really personal things. The person writing the personal information does not know the other person is forwarding that information to friends to try to embarrass the writer.
A girl sends a classmate several texts a day saying she will beat her up if she sees her hanging out with a certain boy.
A boy secretly records with his cell phone an overweight boy eating at the movies. He uploads the video to a popular social media app for all to see.
A student starts a blog to make fun of the way a certain student dresses. Every day the student uploads pictures of what the student wears to school. The blogger even starts a voting booth on the topic on a free web site.
It’s all the same!
Hurting, embarrassing, or threatening another person on purpose is bullying. It doesn’t matter how or where it takes place.
What if cyberbullying happens to you?
- Don’t reply to a harassing message or comment or post.
- Don’t open future messages from someone who is bullying you. If he or she is messaging you, block and report him or her.
- Save all emails, texts, messages, posts, videos, or photos. Screenshop or print them out if possible.
- TELL a parent, a teacher, a counselor, a police officer, Victim Services, or another trusted adult.
What if you witness or know of cyberbullying?
- Support your friend who has been cyberbullied. Encourage him or her to take the steps above.
- If you witness “live” cyberbullying, tell the person doing the bullying to stop. If that doesn’t work, block and report him or her.
- Never “like” or forward a mean post or message.
- ASK a parent, a teacher, a counselor, a police officer, Victim Services, or another trusted adult for help.
If a message sender threatens to harm himself or herself or others, tell a parent, a teacher, a counselor, a police officer, Victim Services, or another trusted adult IMMEDIATELY. Even if you don’t believe the sender, always take threats seriously.
Keep digital spaces safe FOR EVERYONE.
Do your part to help prevent cyberbullying.
Use common courtesy.
Whether you are surfing the web, texting, messaging, or gaming:
- Treat others nicely.
- Avoid using bad language.
- Be honest. Let others know if anyone else if with you.
Think before you type.
- Messages can be copied or forwarded easily.
- You can never be sure you are alone in any conversation.
- Comments made in anger can last forever online.
Take privacy seriously.
- Set social media profiles to private and only allow people you know and trust as friends.
- Never share your passwords. This is all a person needs to log on as you.
- If something makes you feel uncomfortable, TELL a parent, a teacher, a counselor, a police officer, Victim Services, or another trusted adult.