Have you even been bullied online? Through Facebook, Twitter, text message? Well over 50 per cent of us have.
Cyberbullying and online harassment is something that almost everyone has been effected by in one way or another – whether you are the victim, the bully, or the bystander.
Cyberbullying does differ, however, from the definition of “bullying”. Cyberbullying is when people use communication technology to harm others.
There are many ways people are and continue to be cyberbullied.
Common forms include:
- Sending mean messages or threats to a person’s email account or cell phone
- Spreading rumors online or through texts
- Posting hurtful or threatening messages on social networking sites or web pages
- Stealing a person’s account information to break into their account and send damaging messages
- Pretending to be someone else online to hurt another person
- Taking unflattering pictures of a person and spreading them through cell phones or the Internet
- Sexting, or circulating sexually suggestive pictures or messages about a person
With the amount of social media platforms and communication devices available, cyberbullying is very common and occurs more frequently than regular bullying.
Cyberbullying encompasses two main components: anonymity and accessibility. Anybody with Internet can post anything at any time with complete anonymity.
Cyberbullying also has no boundaries with what someone can post or say, and these negative words often reach a larger audience – making it more impfactful to the person being bullied.
Unfortunately there isn’t one general rule to prevent bullying because each situation is different.
But here are some general preventative guidelines from www.stopbullying.org to help:
1. Block and delete the bully from whichever platform it is they are bullying you from.
2. Do not reply to the messages because that will only entice the bully to respond with more hurtful words.
3. Do not delete the messages you recieve. Keep them for evidence in case that is necessary.
4. TELL SOMEONE. Whether it be telling your school administration, reporting to a social media website directly, or telling a trusted adult.
If you see something happening then step in and make a change in the behaviour that you are witnessing. You can either talk to the bully directly, post something yourself to show other bystanders that this isn’t right, or contact someone trusted and educated in this field. Ryerson has experts readidly available to help: http://www.ryerson.ca/equity/
Cyberbullying needs to stop. Here at Ryerson we have zero tolerance with bullying. It is so easy and cowardly to say something to someone behind a computer or cellphone screen. Don’t be that person. If you can’t say it in person then don’t say it at all.
Cyberbullies say mean and negetive things to others often because they don’t have happiness of their own so they try and take yours away. What they say reflects more about them then it does you.
Remember: no one can make you feel inferior unless you let them.