Cyberbullying, it isn’t noticed as much as it should be. There are millions of teenagers in the world, sitting in front of a computer screen being bullied by someone they may not even know. So, the question is, why am I writing about cyberbullying? Well – I’ll tell you. Recently I watched the movie, “Cyberbullying”, it’s about this girl- Taylor who was peer pressured into creating a kikster, a social media website that’s comparable to websites like Facebook, Twitter, and instagram. After her brother and his friend hacked into her account, she started to get bullied, everyone at school had ganged up on her. From everyone ganging up on her, she couldn’t handle it anymore- her solution, suicide. Before she tried to commit though, she posted a video on her page – which seemed to be the hotspot to go on the website. Her video was simply her telling what was happening, and that she questions her life – why she’s living, and what the point of living is. Being cyberbullied affected her so bad, that she tried to kill herself.
She didn’t succeed though – her friend who was supporting her was able to get to her before she carried it out. When she was put in the hospital, the doctors kept a close eye on her, and when she got home, she had to have someone check on her every hour. Soon, she started going to a support group and got help. The cyberbullies who were harassing her online, well she – and her friend stood up to the cyberbullies. What was the point of me telling you the plot of the movie? The point is simple – cyberbullying can really affect people.
Now onto the real information, what is cyberbullying? “Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place using electronic technology. Electronic technology includes devices and equipment such as cell phones, computers, and tablets as well as communication tools including social media sites, text messages, chat, and websites.” – stopbullying.org states. Examples of cyberbullying include text messages, email, rumors spread by social media, text messages, and emails, along with embarrassing pictures spread through these. In other words, which is quite simple, is that cyberbullying is being rude to others through technology, but why is cyberbullying different from bullying in person? It’s often true that a kid, or teenager is being bullied in person as well as online, but there are some differences.
Unlike in person, cyberbullying can happen at virtually any moment- 24/7. While bullying in person, the victim knows who it is, online bullying can be posted by anyone, with an anonymous name, and can be spread to a very broad audience. It’s obvious that cyberbullying and bullying in person is different, but what are the effects? The effects of online bullying is quite similar to the effects of a victim getting bullied in person. These kids are much more influenced to use drugs or alcohol, to skip school and get lower grades, have a low confidence level, and more health problems. In some cases, a victim being bullied can lead to even worse effects, such as self harming or even suicide.
The National Center for Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice Statistics shows that in the school year of 2008 – 2009, 6% of students, grades kindergarten through 12th grade have experienced cyberbullying. Don’t think that’s a lot? In 2011, surveys showed that 16% of high schoolers alone have experienced cyberbullying. That’s highschool alone. Think about how high the percentage would be for those in middle school. Knowing how many teens are getting cyber bullied, how can you tell? There are many ways to realize when someone is getting bullied – whether it be in person or online.
Major signs that someone is getting bullied include unexplainable injuries, frequent headaches and stomach aches, also including faking illnesses, change in eating habits, difficulty sleeping and often nightmares, not wanting to go to school, loss of interest at school, declining grades, loss of friends, and even worse – Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide. Say you know someone with these symptoms, what can you do to help them? There are ways that you can help others, and if you think you can’t help enough, don’t be afraid to tell a trustworthy adult what’s happening to your peer, or even you. Ways that you, and an adult can help stop cyberbullying, and bullying in general include stepping in and telling the bully to stop,stay calm – getting worked up could make the situation even worse, and most importantly – be there for the person, they really need support and a shoulder to lean on when they’re going through a rough time like bullying. It doesn’t stop there though, if you or your friend are getting cyber bullied, don’t respond to any insulting messages, block the person. Make sure that you print the evidence, keep records of the times, and dates. This can be used when reporting cyberbullying.
There are some things though, that you shouldn’t do when trying to stop cyberbullying. Don’t ignore the situation to start with, again, get an adult to help you stop it. How can you avoid cyberbullying though? It’s around all the time. There are many ways you can avoid cyberbullying, but just remember that it’s still there. Make sure an adult knows what websites you are going on, so they can step in if there are any signs of cyberbullying, and more importantly, listen to your parents about rules- you may think they’re stupid, but just remember that your parents are doing the things they do for your safety.
But, lets say that you’ve encountered some cyberbullying- how in the world do you report it? There are many ways to report it. One thing you can do is report it to Online service providers. Review their terms and conditions, if you, or a person you know is getting cyber bullied, and the website’s terms and conditions go against what was said, or posted, then you’re able to report it. You can also visit media safety centers to learn how to block users and change your settings to control who can contact you. If this isn’t enough to stop your case of cyberbullying, you can also contact the police.
When cyberbullying involves things such as threats of violence, sending explicit pictures and videos ( sexting ), and stalking, you should contact the police. The police may be able to track the sender and warn them to stop. If these things aren’t happening, you may just want to report it to your school. “Cyberbullying can create a disruptive environment at school and is often related to in-person bullying. The school can use the information to help inform prevention and response strategies.
” – stopbullying.gov also states. Telling the school can often lead to the trustworthy adults finding out if the victim is being bullied in person. Cyberbullying sound as bad as it really is to you now? No? How about this terrifying fact – The American Academy of Pediatrics show that up to 17% of teens have committed suicide from cyberbullying alone. Add bullying in person to that, you get a whopping 78% of teens that have committed suicide. So, before you decide to let bullying, or cyberbullying take place, just remember how bad it can affect others.
Now that you’ve been informed, do you think cyberbullying should be talked about more? Like mentioned- teens suffer from bullying like this, and it needs to stop. The next time you witness cyberbullying, step in and stop it. Together, the internet world could be much better if we all just put an end to cyberbullying.