Cyberbullying occurs when a child or teen is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated or otherwise targeted by another child or teen using the Internet, interactive digital technologies or mobile phones.
Although cyberbullying is not physical harassment, it can still cause 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 several times a day.
No longer do kids just have to worry about being targeted 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 it is doubtful cyberbullying will disappear in the near future, there are a few tips and tricks that can help victims avoid future conflict.
If you or someone you love is being assaulted by cyberbullies, it is a recommended not to respond to any messages or posts written about you. Baiting a reaction from you is exactly what the cyberbullies hope to accomplish, so never give them the satisfaction.
Tips to help deal with cyberbullying:
Report threats: Notify the police ofsexual messages and threats of harm. In many cases, severe cyberbullying can be prosecuted by the law. Sending threatening messages is never acceptable in any situation, especially not to children.
Save the evidence: make sure to save abusive text messages or a 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 Bullies: Block the bully’s email address, cell phone number, and delete them from you 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.
Parents Stay Involved: Encourage your kids to tell you immediately if they, or someone they know is being cyberbullied. Reassure them that you will not take away their computers or cell phones if they confide in you about a problem they are having.
Cyberbullying is a not something any child should have to live with. 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 strategies to help stop cyberbullying please visit stopbullying.gov.
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