What is cyberbullying?
According to the RCMP, Cyberbullying involves the use of communication technologies such as the Internet, social networking sites, websites, email, text messaging and instant messaging to repeatedly intimidate or harass others. It can involve the sharing of photos without consent, sending mean or threatening messages, pretending to be someone by using their name, and/or sharing personal or embarrassing information about another person.
1 in 5 Canadian Teens have witnessed online bullying. (Source)
Cyberbullying differs from traditional bullying because due to the role of technology in our lives, it can follow a victim everywhere.
What are the implications of cyberbullying?
It is easy for youth who are bullied to feel isolated and as though they have no one to turn to. As a result, the effects of cyberbullying may include:
- Social anxiety, loneliness, isolation
- Stress related health problems (e.g., headaches, stomach aches)
- Low self esteem
- School absenteeism and academic problems
- Aggressive behaviours
- Contemplating, attempting, or committing suicide
In BC, 25% of girls and 17% of boys have witnessed online harassment. (Source)
What can you do to help cyberbullied youth?
If you or someone you know is being cyberbullied, know that you are not alone and that there are a number of things you can do. This includes:
- Leaving the online conversation and blocking the person, if possible
- Report online bullying to the social media site
- Keep track of the bullying (write it down and/or save a screenshot of the online message).
- Tell a trusted adult. If you don't trust anyone or need to speak with someone urgently, contact the confidential and toll-free Kids Help Phone.
- Report the bullying to school administrators.
- Report criminal offences, such as threats, assaults and sexual exploitation to the local police detachment.
- Report unwanted text messages to your telephone service provider.
- If you feel it's safe to do so, tell the bully to stop
- Fill out an anonymous letter and drop it off to a teacher or any adult you trust
Let them know that they can trust you and that they shouldn't deal with bullying alone.
- document the bullying
- report unwanted text messages to their telephone service provider, or cyberbullying to social media sites
- report the bullying to school administrators
- report criminal offences, such as threats, assaults, harassment and sexual exploitation to the local police detachment
Nearly 4 in 10 social network users (39%) have been cyberbullied, compared with 22% of online teens who do not use social networks. (Source)