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What is Cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is any kind of bullying or harassment using some form of technology, including cell phones, social media, email or other internet communications such as an online forum.

Cyberbullying can include such activities as:

  • Posting an unflattering or sexual picture
  • Sharing private emails
  • Sharing other communications that were meant to be private such as poems or notes

The cyberbully’s point is to embarrass the target person. Unfortunately, there are lots of ways they can do this. As kids and teens tend to be more self-conscious, it can affect them a great deal and cause a lot of emotional pain.

Cyberbullying can also be harder to avoid than face-to-face bullying – it can occur at any time, reach a wider audience, use photos or videos and may even be anonymous. However, there are some ways to limit a bully’s access to information and to block the activity. Some hacks you can share with your kids and teens to limit cyberbullying include protecting private and personal information, avoiding interacting with bullies online and resolving the cyberbullying situation.

Cyberbullying Hacks

Protecting Your Personal Information

  • Keep information such as usernames and passwords private.
    Don’t share account information with friends or with boyfriends and girlfriends. If the relationship changes or if you have a disagreement, that person now has important information they can use to cause embarrassment.
  • Know the privacy settings on social media accounts.
    Typically under “Options” on the homepage, look for “Profile Settings” or “Security Settings” and make sure the settings are restricted to “friends only” so that random users can’t see the page, or post comments and material.

Stop Contact with Bullies

  • Log out and stop messaging. Don’t reply when angry, and don’t share the messages with friends no matter how tempting it is to “out” the bully. Sharing usually involves more people, and the issue grows further.
  • Kids and teens need to let a trusted family member or helper know about the bullying, but involving friends can have a snowball effect, bringing more attention to the problem and may cause friends to “take sides.”
  • Encourage discussion of any issues in an open, non-judgemental manner. Try to stay focused on providing protection from or stopping the bullying, rather than trying to figure out how it got started in the beginning.

Resolve the Cyberbullying

  • Teach kids and teens to remember the steps: 1. Stop, 2. Save, 3. Block and 4. Tell
    1. Stop contact with the bully – check out the hack above for tips.
    2. Save messages (texts, emails) and take screenshots of posts or messages to use as proof of the bullying behaviour. Search online for “how to take a screenshot” on whatever device you’re using (phone, computer) for easy 1, 2, 3 steps.
    3. Block or delete the bully from your account, if possible, or contact the site administrator if someone is harassing or bullying you.
    4. Tell someone you trust about the bullying situation.
  • Keep records. If someone is calling, messaging or contacting in a bullying or harassing manner, make note of the dates, times and number of messages and calls.

You can also visit Links and Resources for more places to get credible information.

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