Cyber-Bullying: A Very Real Problem

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Victims of bullies in earlier generations could often find some peace after leaving school, or in the security of their own homes. However today’s age of unrestrained cell phone and tablet use has put an end to that; now bullies have direct access to their victims 24 hours a day.

Although cyber bulling is not physical in nature, it can still lead to some very real issues: scarring, emotional trauma, and tragically, even suicide are not uncommon. Imagine receiving threatening and degrading Facebook posts, text messages, and tweets dozens of times a day.  “Nobody likes you”; “You have no friends”; “You are worthless” and many that are much worse. It is not hard for bullies to send these messages, making them an easy and hurtful time-filler for those with nothing better to do.

No longer do kids have to worry about picked on at school, they have to worry about getting picked on at school and a photo of the event being posted online for millions to see. Then they must face the numerous posts, messages, and tweets about what a “loser” they are.

Although this epidemic is unlikely to fade away in the near future, there are ways of dealing with cyberbullying that can help you avoid future conflict.

If you are targeted by cyberbullies, it is a good idea not to respond to any messages or posts written about you, no matter how hurtful or fictitious. Provoking a reaction from you is exactly what the cyberbullies hope to achieve, so don’t give them the satisfaction.

If you or someone you love is the victim of cyberbullying:

Save the evidence: keep abusive text messages or a screenshot of a webpage and then report them to a trusted adult, such as a family member, teacher, or school counselor. If you don’t report incidents, the cyberbully can often become more aggressive.

Report threats: Notify the police of inappropriate sexual messages and threats of harm. In many cases, severe cyberbullying can be prosecuted by the law.

Block the Bully: Block their 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 cases of severe bullying, report their activities to their internet service provider (ISP) or to any web sites they use to target you.

Don’t Give Up: Cyberbullying is rarely limited to one incident. You are more likely to be attacked several times over a period of time. You may have to be persistent and keep reporting each and every bullying incident to authorities until it stops. Remember this is not anything that you brought upon yourself, and you don’t have to accept it.

Cyberbullying is a problem that no one should have to endure. If you are being cyber bullied it is important to remember that it is not your fault. Don’t dwell on it by reading the message multiple times. Make sure to focus on the good things in your life. No matter who you are, there are several positive things about yourself that you should be proud of. Cyberbullying will eventually pass, and in the mean time we all have to do our part to speak out against it when we see it happening.

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