What Is Cyberbullying?
Bullying is when someone embarrasses, threatens, or hurts someone else’s feelings.
Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place using electronic technology. Electronic technology includes devices and equipment such as:
- Cell phones
- Other communication tools such as social media sites or chat/instant messaging programs
What Does Cyberbullying Look Like?
- Bully pretends they are other people online to trick others
- Spread lies and rumors about victims through text messages,
instant messenger, email, or social media websites
- Trick people into revealing personal information
- Send or forward mean text messages or emails
- Post embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles of victims without their consent
How Is Cyberbullying Different?
- Can happen 24/7, 365 days a year
- There are no safe spaces
- The bullying occurs with a wide audience
- Bullies can be anonymous
- Harder for the bully to empathize with the victim because there is no face-to-face contact
- No geographical limitations
- The victim can become the bully
- Face-to-face encounters
- Victim can find a safe space away from the bully
- Limited number of onlookers to only the people who are present
- Bully can be identified
- Bully will see facial and body reactions of victims
Who Are The Victims?
- Those who are seen as “different” (i.e. wears glasses, overweight, underweight, different clothing, unable to afford items that are “cool”)
- Those who are seen as weak/unable to defend themselves
- Those who have low self-esteem
- Those who have few friends or are unpopular
- Those who are seen as annoying or seeking attention from others
What To Do If You Are A Victim
Some teens feel threatened because they may not know who is cyberbullying them. Although cyberbullies may think they are anonymous, they can be found. If you are cyberbullied or harassed and need help, save all communication with the cyberbully and talk to a parent, teacher, law enforcement officer, or another adult you trust.
Positive ways to try to stop cyberbullying:
- Block communication with the cyberbully
- Do not respond or read messages. However, save the messages as evidence by asking a friend or family member to print out the messages
- Talk to a friend about the bullying
- Report the problem to an Internet Service Provider or website moderator, parent, teacher, principal, or someone with superiority
- Refuse to pass along cyberbullying messages
- Tell friends not to be a cyberbully
- Always log out of all online accounts
Negative/Discouraged ways to react:
- Seeking revenge on the bully
- Avoiding friends and activities
- Cyberbullying back
How To Prevent Cyberbullying
- Speaking with other students, as well as teachers and school administrators, to develop rules against cyberbullying
- Raising awareness of the cyberbullying problem in your community by holding an assembly and creating fliers to give to younger kids or parents
- Informing others that cyberbullying is against the law and the cyberbully can be charged with harassment, criminal threats, stalking, and impersonation, even if the bully is a minor.
- Report cyberbullying if you see it. Reporting is not the same as tattling. Tattling is trying to get someone in trouble. Reporting bullying is helping someone who is being bullied by bringing it to the attention of others.
- Do not encourage the bully. Respond with phrases such as:
“that is NOT funny” or “how would you like it if someone did that to you”
- T.H.I.N.K. If you would not say it in person, do not say it online!
- T – is it True?
- H – is it Helpful?
- I – is it Inspiring?
- N – is it Nice?
- K – is it Kind?
What Can I Do To Stay Cyber Safe?
Remember that the Internet is accessed by millions of people all over the world, not just your friends and family. While many Internet users are friendly, some may want to hurt you. Below are some ways to stay cyber-safe:
- Never post or share your personal information online (this includes your full name, address, telephone number, school name, parents’ names, credit card number, or Social Security number) or your friends’ personal information.
- Never share your Internet passwords with anyone, except your parents.
- Never meet anyone face-to-face whom you only know online.
- Talk to your parents about what you do online.
- Keep your photos PG. Remember anyone could end up seeing them.
- Change your password every three to six months.
- Regularly search yourself on search engines such as Google.
It is important to know what others can find out about you.
Where To Get Help
- In cases of emergency always contact 911 and the local police
- The Victims of Crime Resource Center Hotline 1-800-VICTIMS (842-8467) can provide you with references and resources that can help
- If someone at school is being a bully contact
- School counselor
- School principal
- School superintendent
- State Department of Education
- If someone is feeling hopeless or depressed have them call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- A Thin Line
- For children in grades K-12, contact Brave Society at 1-916-903-6627
- For children and young adults ages 12-24, contact California Youth Crisis Hotline at 1-916-514-4464
- If you suspect online sexual explooitation of children, contact the Cyber Tip Line at 1-800-THE-LOST (843-5678)
- Contact the FBI Internet Crime Complaint Center (IC3)
- For teens and young adults ages 13-24, contact STOMP Out Bullying at 1-877-602-8559
- Contact STOP Cyberbullying at 1-201-463-8663
- If you are looking for more information, contact the Government at 1-800-273-8255