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What is Cyberbullying?

young girl using laptop

Cyberbullying is a term we are all too familiar with these days. But what exactly does it mean?

Cyberbullying is any kind of bullying or harassment using some form of technology – cell phones, social media, email or other internet communication.

It can come from someone you know, or can be from a complete stranger and can involve posting an unflattering or sexual picture or sharing private emails or self-expression that was meant to be private (poems, songs or notes).

Bullies engage in cyberbullying to humiliate or embarrass the target person. There are many ways to accomplish this and cyberbullying often affects everyone a little bit differently.

Cyberbullying can be harder to avoid than face to face bullying – it can occur at any time, can reach a wider audience, can use photos or videos, and can even be anonymous.

Protecting yourself from bullies

  • Keep usernames and passwords private. Do not share access info with friends or boyfriends and girlfriends as this can go badly if the relationship changes or if there are disagreements or conflicts.
  • Learn how to use the privacy settings on social media so that random users can’t see the page, or post comments and material
  • Do not interact with bullies or harassers – this means logging out, stopping messaging and not replying when angry.
  • Share your concerns with a trusted friend or family member, but do not get others involved in the communication. Involving others in the online war can have a snowball effect, bring more attention to the problem and prompt people to take sides, which can end up being a larger problem.
  • Try to discuss any issues in an open and non-blaming manner, whether with your friends or family. Try to stay focused on stopping harassment, rather than how things got started in the beginning.

Resolving cyberbullying

  • Keep records – if someone is calling, messaging or contacting in a bullying or harassing way, make note of the dates, times and numbers of contacts.
  • Save texts and emails that are harassing or bullying as you can use this as proof of the behaviour.
  • Block, delete, and/or report to the site administrator if someone is harassing or bullying.
  • Remember the steps:
    1. Stop,
    2. Save,
    3. Block and
    4. Tell.
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