Cyber bullied? You can do something about it!
Have you ever received a threatening email? Has someone ever put up a photo of you on a social networking site with the aim of writing nasty things about it? Have you ever had hateful text messages sent to you?
Recent statistics from a Trinity College Ireland report show as many as 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys have been involved in cyber bullying, as either the victim or the bully. It is estimated that 24% of nine to 17-year-olds have reported being bullied.
What is cyber bullying?
Sometimes it can be hard to know what exactly cyber bullying is and whether it is happening to you or not. While cyber bullying has similar features with traditional bullying, it has some unique aspects that we need to sit up and pay attention to.
Cyber bullying is a form of harassment that takes place via electronic devices using internet or text technology. It is not someone being mean once; but someone who is repeatedly targeting, undermining, intimidating or threatening you. It is still most prevalent on social networking sites, but it is not just the laptop we have to think about; phones, computers, mp3 players and gaming consoles are all devices which people can be bullied. Knowing how to identify bullying and take action becomes crucial. Cyber bullying can make you feel afraid, embarrassed, humiliated, alone and worst of all, like there is no escape.
What can you do?
Don’t be quiet about it; nobody has the right to bully you. The solution is in your hands. You can do something about it!
● Tell someone! Whether it is happening to you or a friend; stand up and tell someone you trust
● Report them - take screen-shots of abusive or bullying activity or save text messages (information on how to do this is available online)
● Block them - there are settings on phones and social networking accounts that can let you block the person from contacting you
● Do not accept friends in social networks or open emails from someone you do not know.
● Do not be afraid to get help - always remember nobody has the right to bully you
Internet technology has completely changed the way we live, work and communicate. What it is used (and abused) for is dependent on people. We all need to be more accountable for what we do online and understand how it can impact others. Everyone has a right to feel safe when using electronic devices.
Written by Louise Lynch, Letterkenny Youth Information Centre