If you’re like most teenagers, you spend a lot of time on a cell phone or instant messenger chatting with friends and uploading photos, videos, and music to websites. You may have online friends whom you’ve never met in person, with whom you play games and exchange messages. Teens’ lives exist in a variety of places such as school hallways, part-time jobs, and friends’ houses. Now many teens also have lives on the Internet. And bullying has followed teens online.
Online bullying, called cyberbullying, happens when teens use the Internet, cell phones, or other devices to send or post text or images intended to hurt or embarrass another person. Cyberbullying is a problem that affects almost half of all American teens. Whether you’ve been a victim of cyberbullying, know someone who has been cyberbullied, or have even cyberbullied yourself, there are steps you and your friends can take to stop cyberbullying and stay cyber-safe.
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
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 teens and
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 cyberbullying 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
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.
Please visit the National Crive Prevention Councils website by Clicking Here