WHAT IS IT?
With new technology comes new means for youth to bully each other. Whereas bullying used to be conﬁned primarily to the school yard, youth are now using cell phones, computers, and gaming systems to cyberbully. Cyerbullying is using the Internet, cell phones, video game systems, or other technology to send or post text or images intended to hurt or embarrass another person. Some examples of cyberbullying include:
Sending mean or threatening e-mails, messages, or texts
Tricking someone into revealing personal or embarrassing information and sending it to others
Sending or forwarding private messages to others
Sharing explicit pictures with others without consent
Starting rumors via text message or online
Creating fake online proﬁles on websites such as Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, etc. to make fun of people
Both bullying and cyberbullying can be extremely hurtful and damaging to a person. However cyberbullying, to some victims, can be more damaging than physical bullying. It can happen in the comfort of their home and take away their feelings of safety.It can be an extension of physical bullying leaving them feeling there is no way out.It can be anonymous. They may have no idea who is responsible for bullying them.
It can feel harsher. People tend to be crueler online than they are face to face.Messages can be forwarded or posted to websites for everyone on the Internet to see.It can be far reaching. Things posted online are visible to the world 24 hours a day seven days a week.
43% of teens have been victims of cyberbullying in the last year?
Cyberbullying is a bigger issue than you may think.
18% of males and 16% of females report bullying others online.
Three out of four teens know who is cyberbullying them.
Nearly 30% of teens desire to seek revenge on those who have cyberbullied them.
58% of teens do not think cyberbullying is a big deal. It is.
81% of youth believe people cyberbully because they think it's funny.
How Are Teens Cyberbullied?
Being a victim of cyberbullying can be a common and painful experience. Some youth who cyberbully:
- Pretend they are other people online to trick others
- Spread lies and rumors about victims
- Trick people into revealing personal information
- Send or forward mean text messages
- Post pictures of victims without their consent
When teens were asked why they think others cyberbully, 81 percent said that cyberbullies think it's funny. Other teens believe that youth who cyberbully:
- Don't think it's a big deal
- Don't think about the consequences
- Are encouraged by friends
- Think everybody cyberbullies
- Think they won't get caught
How Do Victims React?
Contrary to what cyberbullies may believe, cyberbullying is a big deal, and can cause a variety of reactions in teens. Some teens have reacted in positive ways to try to prevent cyberbullying by:
- Blocking communication with the cyberbully
- Deleting messages without reading them
- Talking to a friend about the bullying
- Reporting the problem to an Internet service provider or website moderator
Many youth experience a variety of emotions when they are cyberbullied. Youth who are cyberbullied report feeling angry, hurt, embarrassed, or scared. These emotions can cause victims to react in ways such as:
- Seeking revenge on the bully
- Avoiding friends and activities
- Cyberbullying back
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 other adult you trust.
How Can I Prevent Cyberbullying?
Teens have figured out ways to prevent cyberbullying. Follow in the footsteps of other quick-thinking teensand
- Refuse to pass along cyberbullying messages
- Tell friends to stop cyberbullying
- Block communication with cyberbullies
- Report cyberbullying to a trusted adult
You can also help prevent cyber-bullying by:
- 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
- Sharing NCPC's anti-cyberbullying message with friends
Don't forget that even though you can't see a cyberbully or the bully's victim, cyberbullying causes real problems. If you wouldn't say it in person, don't say it online. Delete cyberbullying. Don't write it. Don't forward it.
What Else 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.
SPOTTING THE SIGNS OF SOMEONE BEING CYBER BULLIED
Becomes withdrawn or shy
Shows signs of depression
Is extremely moody or agitated
Is anxious or overly stressed out
Shows signs of aggressive behavior
Suddenly stops using the computer
Changes eating or sleeping habits (e.g., nightmares)
No longer wants to participate in activities once enjoyed
Hurts self, attempts or threatens suicide
Suddenly changes friends
The biggest red ﬂag is a withdrawal from technology. Ifyou notice a sudden change in computer or phone usage, talk to the person. They may be being cyberbullied.
Drops in grades
Loses interest in school
Gets into trouble at school
Doesn't want to go to school
SIGNS THAT A TEEN MAY BE CYBER-BULLYING OTHERS
Stops using the computer or turns off the screen when someone comes near
Appears nervous or jumpy when using the computer or cell phone
Is secretive about what they are doing on the computer
Spends excessive amounts of time on the computer
Becomes upset or angry when computer or cell phone privileges are limited or taken away