Dealing with Cyberbullying
Cyberbullying has become a very real problem in modern America. Victims of bullies in earlier generations could often find some peace after leaving school or in the security of their own homes. However, today’s age of unrestrained cell phone and tablet use has put an end to that; bullies now have direct access to their victims 24 hours a day.
Although cyberbullying is not physical in nature, it can still lead to some very real problems: depression, emotional trauma, and tragically, even suicide are not uncommon. Victims often receive hostile and demeaning Facebook posts, text messages, and tweets multiple times a day.
Present-day bullying has taken on a sinister and hive-like nature. No longer do kids simply have to worry about being picked on at school, they now have to worry about being harassed all day long, many times anonymously and often in the supposed safety of their homes.
Although this epidemic is unlikely to fade away in the near future, there are ways of dealing with cyberbullying that can help victims avoid future conflict.
If you are under attack from cyberbullies, it is a good idea not to respond to any messages or posts written about you, no matter how hurtful or untrue. Provoking a reaction from you is exactly what the cyberbullies want to do, so don’t give them the satisfaction.
If you or someone you love is the target of cyberbullies:
Report all threats: Notify the police of inappropriate sexual messages and threats of harm. In many cases, severe cyberbullying can be prosecuted by the law. Sending threatening messages is never acceptable under any circumstances.
Save the messages: make sure to save abusive text messages or screenshots and then report them to a trusted adult, such as a family member, teacher, or counselor. Cyberbullies can become more aggressive if incidents aren’t reported.
Block the bully: Block the bully’s email address, cell phone number, and delete them from your social media contacts (and make sure to set your social media accounts to private). In severe cases, you can report their activities to their internet service provider (ISP) or to any web sites they use to target you.
Never give up: Cyberbullying is not usually limited to one incident. You are more likely to be attacked numerous times over a period of time. You may have to be tenacious and make sure to report each and every bullying incident to authorities until it stops. Always remember cyberbullying is not anything that you brought upon yourself, and you don’t have to take it.
Cyberbullying is a problem that no one should have to tolerate. If you are being cyberbullied it is important to remember that it is not your fault. Until cyberbullying becomes a problem of the past, we all have to do our part and speak out against it when we see it happening.
For more information and tips on cyberbullying, please visit stopbullying.gov.
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