Bullying and Cyber Bullying: What You Need to Know

CyberBullying: The Bigger Picture

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What is cyberbullying?

StopCyberBullying.org states that “Cyberbullying is when a child, preteen or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child, preteen or teen using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones. It has to have a minor on both sides, or at least have been instigated by a minor against another minor.” (http://www.stopcyberbullying.org/what_is_cyberbullying_exactly.html This link will open in a new tab.)

Check out this web video to get a closer look at the definition of cyberbullying:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIgtD6hgwMI&feature=related This link will open in a new tab.

 

What does a cyberbully look like?
Cyberbullying can occur in many forms. You may not think about it, but cyberbullying is done over the computer on personal web pages like MySpace, or instant messaging, and even on the phone with text messages. Because bullying can occur in many electronic forms, it is important to be aware of the potential ways in which you could be bullied.

  • Here are some types of bullying that are commonly considered cyberbullying:
  • Sending mean or threatening text messages via phone (text messaging)
  • Using someone else’s username and password for purposes of impersonation
  • Putting embarrassing or hurtful images on internet web pages
  • Writing degrading or derogative comments about another person on your blog or webpage
  • Spreading rumors and gossip via instant messages and texting
  • Exchanging verbal threats and insults during an instant messaging conversation

 

For a complete list of what is considered cyberbullying please go to:
http://www.stopcyberbullying.org/how_it_works/direct_attacks.html This link will open in a new tab.

Are you a cyberbully?
Take this short quiz, sponsored by www.stopcyberbullying.org, to find out:
http://www.stopcyberbullying.org/teens/are_you_a_cyberbully.html This link will open in a new tab.


Consequences of being a cyberbully:

  • You can really hurt other people emotionally


Reality Check: Cyberbullying truly hurts others: (a collection of videos & stories)

 

You can get yourself into a great deal of trouble
Cyberbullying is an act that is taken very seriously by the school and law enforcement.Cyberbullying may be considered a criminal act and could lead to criminal charges being filed against you. These charges could have a negative effect on colleges and career choices.”


How can you stop cyberbullying?

  • Be a part of the solution instead of being a part of the problem
    • If you are guilty of being a cyberbully know that you are not alone. Many teens use various technologies to gossip about other people or carry out frustrations through cyber conversations. Though cyberbullying is common among teens, few are willing to admit that they have or still do cyberbully. Acknowledging that you are a cyberbully is the first step in the road to changing it. You can pledge to stop cyberbullying right now. Changing the way you communicate online can change they way that you affect the lives of others.
    • If you think that you have never cyberbullied, know that standing by and supporting others who do cyberbully also means that you are a cyberbully. Laughing with friends while they are writing hurtful e-mails or posting embarrassing photos of classmates, or even just keeping quiet about a friend’s mean MySpace blog or threatening text message is your silent admission that you too are a cyberbully. If that is not the kind of person you consider yourself, know that you can change. Stand up against those who are actually typing the messages. Point out how hurtful cyberbullying can be and refuse to be a part of it.
    • Being a part of the solution means being an advocate for those who are being cyberbullied. In other words, not only should you not be a part of it, but you can talk to others who you know are cyberbullies and explain why they should stop. Sometimes hearing those messages from friends can be far more powerful than hearing it from a teacher or counselor.
  • Take a stand, know when to get help – If you are someone who is the target of cyberbullying, speak up! You have a right to stand up against those who are bullying you. Sometimes it feels like that is too hard to do on your own. You can always count on teachers, school counselors, and very often your parents to help you figure out what to do if this is happening to you. If you get threatening messages and e-mails or if you are the target of a humiliating MySpace blog, speak up and talk to a trusted adult about it.
  • Don’t respond, break the cycle – Sometimes cyberbullying can be mutual; that is people on both sides of the argument use cyberbullying to get his/her point across. When you counter an online bullying attack with another online message- you are only feeding the cycle of cyberbullying. Sometimes it can be difficult not to respond, but some of the best ways to avoid making the problem worse is to push the delete button. You might also think about printing what was sent to you and bringing it to a trusted adult instead of writing a response. Break the cycle- avoid becoming a cyberbully too.
  • Educate others – One way to stand up to cyberbullying is to educate the people around you about how it can affect others in negative ways. Start a discussion in your peer group about how damaging cyberbullying can be for the person who is on the receiving end. Spread the word wherever and whenever you can. Discussions like this can really get the word out about the negative consequences of cyberbullying.

 

Resources to Learn More:

 

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