Cyberbullying is bullying that occurs using electronic technology. Electronic technology refers to devices such as cell phones, computers, and tablets as well as social media websites like Facebook. Cyberbullying can mean cruel text messages or emails, rumors spreading through the internet, embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles.
Cyberbullying is different than bullying because kids who are cyberbullied have a harder time getting away from the behavior. The bullying is online for everyone to see, it is not private. If bullying physically happens in the community or schools, adults can do something but since it is indirect on the internet, there are no adults to monitor what is going on.
Effects of Cyberbullying
The internet and social media are not to blame for cyberbullying. Though they can be the cause of something terrible, it can also be the cause of something great. People can communicate with their friends and connect with their family who may live across the country. But these tools can be used to hurt someone. The effects of cyberbullying can be....
-experience in-person bullying
-receive poor grades
-have a low self-esteem
-have more health problems
-use alcohol or drugs
If cyberbullying occurs, it is important to document and report it so the behavior can be stopped. When being cyberbullied...
-don't respond to the sender even though you may be tempted
-keep the evidence of the cyberbullying. Record the date, time, and description of the cyberbully. Save and print screenshots of the emails or text messages. You can always use this evidence to report it to a cell phone service provider or adult.
In addition, you can report cyberbullying in your school. Cyberbullying can create a disruptive environment at school and can lead to in-person bullying. The school can use the evidence you saved to prevent further bullying and you can work with you to find a solution.
How to Prevent Bullying
There are a variety of ways to prevent cyberbullying. You and your parents can establish rules about technology use. I know this may be really annoying but it is for your own safety. You can set rules for what websites to visit. Your parents can show you how to be safe online. Also, be careful what you post or say. Don't post anything embarrassing or something that could hurt someone else.
This also relates to not responding to what the bully says. If you respond negatively, they can use that against you. Don't say anything negative to anyone. If someone says something hurtful, don't respond.
This is a very common mistake people make. Teens may communicate with complete strangers. They may get a chat or email from someone they don't know, and they start to interact with them. Unfortunately, they could have been tricked by a stranger. The person could be pretending to be someone to get your attention. It is always important to not communicate with those you don't know.
Keep your privacy. Don't share everything about yourself online. A person who sees your personal information may try to use it against you and may even steal your identity. Don't share anything personal.