What Exactly is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is the intentional harassment and intimidation of other youth through the use of information and communication technologies, such as:
- instant messaging
- text/picture/video messages sent on a mobile phone
- social networking sites (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram)
- chat rooms
- interactive game sites
Cyberbullying differs from bullying in several different ways. Real life bullying is usually confined to one area, maybe the school or the bus. Cyberbullying, on the other hand, can happen 24 hours a day; it is often hard to escape since we are always online. In real life bullying, you always know who is bullying you. Cyberbullying, however, is often anonymous through the use of temporary e-mail accounts and usernames. Although there are differences between real life bullying and cyberbullying, there are still ways to be safe and prevent cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying is a very serious offense and has many repercussions. Anything you post or do online never goes away; a copy of your actions will always exist even if you delete them from your computer. What would future employers or college admission officers say if they saw what you posted or did online? A good rule to follow is if you wouldn’t want your parents to know what you’re doing online, then you probably shouldn’t do it. Also, these actions online can almost always be traced back to you through your Internet Service Provider. If cyberbullying occurs, police could be involved and you could face severe legal consequences.
What Can I Do If I’m Being Cyberbullied?
- Stop talking to the bully
- Block the bully’s e-mail address
- Block the bully’s chat account
- Block the bully as a friend on Facebook and social sites
- Call your cell-phone company to have the bully’s number blocked
- Save a hard copy of anything the bully has done or said to you online
- Tell a trusted adult about what happened
- Report the bully’s actions to the website or company where it occurred
Important Things to Remember
- Never give out your passwords or personal information online
- Know who your friends are/do not add or communicate with a friend unless you know them
- Don’t say or do anything you wouldn’t do in real life
- Don’t visit online places where you could be mistreated
- Always tell a trusted adult if someone does something online that makes you feel uncomfortable or upset