By Madison Forster
Being cyberbullied can be a tough experience to go through. It’s important to know that there is no good reason for being bullied online. If you have become a victim of cyberbullying, here are some steps to take.
Reach out for help
This is not something to be taken lightly, and you shouldn’t feel like you have to handle it on your own. Find a trusted adult. This would be your parents, a family member, a teacher, or a school counselor. There are cyberbullying laws in some states, so action could be taken. Let a trusted adult know, and they can help you take additional steps.
Keep every conversation you have showing cyberbullying. When you let someone know what is going on, you can show exactly what was said. Since there are cyberbullying laws, this evidence could be very helpful in any actions against the bully to be taken.
Don’t respond. “Dr Sameer Hinduja and Dr. Justin W. Patchin of the Cyberbullying Research Center advise victims not to respond to “minor teasing or name calling” if they can avoid it. Sometimes bullies are encouraged by seeing a reaction” (https://www.endcyberbullying.net/what-to-do-if-youre-a-victim).
If you are being bullied on social media, report them to a social media moderator. A step you can take to try and end cyberbullying is to block the account that is harassing you. If that doesn’t help, “The Cyberbullying Research Center also notes that your parents can help by getting in touch with your internet service provider, cell phone service provider, or content provider” (https://www.endcyberbullying.net/what-to-do-if-youre-a-victim).
These were some steps to take if you have become a victim of cyberbullying, but there are some steps you can take to prevent cyberbullying in the future.
Change Your Privacy Settings
Something that can help is changing your social media accounts to “Private”. This makes it so only the only people who can see your account and interact with you are ones that you approve to.
Talk About It
Get ahead of the problem and address it. According to StopBullying.gov, “Parents, school staff, and other adults in the community can help kids prevent bullying by talking about it, building a safe school environment, and creating a community-wide bullying prevention strategy”. Down below, there are some discussion questions to go over that will help the conversation start.
If you need additional support, I encourage you to go to: https://www.stopbullying.gov/resources/get-help-now. This is a page that shows who you reach out to if you are not being taken seriously or not receiving help.
- Who can you reach out to if you are being bullied online?
- Do you think that telling someone you are being bullied would make you feel better? Why or why not?
- Do you think there should be a punishment for cyberbullying?
The goal of this activity is to have children start thinking of a plan to have in place if they encounter cyberbullying. This can be done for the child to keep to themselves.
Have them get out a piece of paper are write down an answer for each prompt:
- Who would be the first person you would feel comfortable going to if you were being bullied?
- If you have any social media apps, is there anything you could change to prevent cyberbullying? If so, what would you change?
- What are 3 things you could do if you are being cyberbullied?
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