October is National Bullying Prevention Month, and with that we would like to focus our article on cyberbullying. Social media can be an amazing tool when it is used how it was intended to be used, unfortunately it can also be used in hurtful, mean ways. However, you can break the pattern and be part of the solution. You can be a positive role model for your friends and peers.
Cyberbullying is defined as repeated, extreme form of bullying among youth, via technology. It is behavior that is abusive and targeting, deliberate, repeated and intended to damage and harm another person. Bullies try to seek power over another person. A onetime mean or rude comment is not considered cyberbullying.
Bullies can look like any other kid, or adult no matter what their size, gender, ethnicity or race. Bullies try to seek power over another person and with cyberbullying it is done online typically through social media platforms, text messages, or youtube videos. Bullies tend to do it online because of the anonymous nature of the internet, with so many of the apps being anonymous in nature, they think they won’t be caught. Bullies also know that victims rarely tell someone that they are being bullied so if you see something online that makes you feel scared, uncomfortable or is threatening to you or someone you know we encourage you to seek help. Tell a trusted adult immediately. Do not engage the bully or delete the comment. Show it to your trusted adult and take a screen shot. Know that what the bully is saying is not your fault and you are not alone. No matter what form of bullying you are witnessing, it is unacceptable.
If you are being bullied we encourage you to not engage but ‘walk away’ on social media or text message that means don’t respond to a comment or post. Don’t take matters into your own hands to protect a friend. If you haven’t told the bully to stop, do it now. Sometimes they will continue simply because you didn’t say stop, and again we cannot stress enough if you feel threatened, see or read anything online that disturbs you, scares you or makes you uncomfortable tell a trusted adult immediately and contact the police. If you are being bullied in a private chat room or through instant messaging block them.
If you see someone else being bullied, step in and tell a trusted adult. If you do nothing, you are saying it is okay and you agree. Be a part of the solution by refusing to pass cyberbullying messages, posts or photo’s along, do not comment, share, or like posts that are bullying in nature. If you see someone being bullied, be brave and stand up for them. Be part of the solution not the problem. Stand Up, Speak Up #THINK before you post and be #sociallysafe.
Comment below to ask Kerry & Stacy of SociallySafe any Social Media related questions or to suggest topics you would like to learn about.