Cyberbullying – bullying from a distance
bullying; mobile; phones; harassment; internet; technology; text; sms; bullies; cyber;
We all know that bullying is when someone is deliberately trying to embarrass, threaten or harm someone else. Usually you at least know who the bully is!
In cyberbullying you often don't know who the bully is. The bully can hide his or her identity and make your life miserable - from a distance.
Cyberbullying uses technology.
- Mobile phones: text messages, pictures, video clips can be sent to you and all your friends very quickly and the phone number can be withheld so that you don't know who is sending it.
- Internet: emails can be sent from an address which doesn't give the name of the sender. They can be messages, threats, nasty rumours and lies about you. They may be embarrassing pictures that someone took on their phone/camera without your knowing, eg. in the change room at the pool. They may even hack into your email contact list so that they can send details of your embarrassment to all your contacts.
- Web sites exist where you can talk about anything, post pictures and ask for comments. Some cyber bullies use these to embarrass or hurt their victims.
How you can protect yourself
There are some ways in which you can protect yourself.
- Choose carefully who you give your mobile number, phone number and email address to.
- Always delete any addresses which are on an email you receive before sending it on to someone else. Ask that your friends do the same. This prevents someone getting your address whom you'd rather didn't have it.
- When sending an email to more than one person, only put 1 name in the 'to' section and put all the rest into 'bcc'. That way no one else can see who else is getting that email and you are protecting your friends.
- Don't use your real name when going online to visit chat sites or blog sites.
- Never give out your internet password to anyone and make sure no-one can see you log on at school, in the Library, or anywhere you are using the internet publicly.
What to do if you are being bullied in this way
It can be very difficult to find out who is doing this but there are some things you can do.
- If you are the victim of cyberbullying, (or the regular kind of bullying) then TELL. Tell adults, parents or teachers and keep on telling until something is done. Your school has a policy on bullying and this includes cyberbullying.
- Your parents or caregivers may report the matter to your Internet or mobile provider who will have some ideas about what you can do. These may include having a change of phone number, a silent number or changing your email address.
- Don't go in for cyberbullying yourself if you feel that you know who is doing it. Two wrongs don't make a right!
- Your parents can contact any regular site which displays embarrassing pictures of you and ask for them to be taken off.
- If things are being said or shown about you on a personal website then you may need to notify the Police.
||"Someone made up a story about me and sent it to my friends."|
|"I fell out with a friend and she kept sending me nasty messages saying I was fat and a loser. I told my teacher and she had to write an apology to me." |
|"I think people who send nasty messages are cowards and sick."|
|"My sister's friend told her that someone was sending a photo of her to all her friends. It wasn't a real photo but a rude one with her face on it."|
|"How would you feel if someone was being mean to you like this?"|
Dr Kim says
cyberbullying is on the increase and most people who are affected by it are teenagers and young adults. Bullying is horrible and cyberbullying may be even more horrible as young people can be made to feel very depressed and scared by the fact that someone is doing this to them and they may have no idea why or who it is.
Research shows that cyberbullying has led to all kinds of social, emotional and other health problems and even the suicide of some victims.
People who do this kind of bullying need to ask themselves how they would feel if this were happening to them…then STOP.
The sites below can give you more ideas on how to deal with cyberbullying whether you are the victim or the bully and how to help you to keep yourself safe from cyberbullies.
Check out this site where you can build your own budd:e and learn how to keep yourself online.
We've provided this information to help you to understand important things about staying healthy and happy. However, if you feel sick or unhappy, it is important to tell your mum or dad, a teacher or another grown-up.