What is cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is when someone uses technological tools, such as a smart phone or social media, to bully or harass a person.
How to handle cyberbullying
The consequences of cyberbullying go beyond the virtual world. They have an impact on social life, schoolwork, and psychological balance. Luckily, there are things you can do to handle it!
Characteristics of cyberbullying
Anonymous and invincible
On the web, we sometimes feel anonymous and invincible, and it’s easier to engage in cyberbullying. Watch out: danger!
The online disinhibition effect
Behind the screen, we can’t see the other person’s face or reactions. Sometimes we say things we’d never dare to say face to face!
Frequently asked questions
Cyberbullying can create a feeling of isolation and erode self-esteem. It creates stress, fear, and distress. You might even feel physically ill, find it hard to function in various areas of your life, or feel consumed by negative thoughts. These actions might affect your reputation or you might be living with fear if someone’s threatening you. In other words, if the cyberbullying is making you feel bad, that’s perfectly normal! Don’t keep the problem to yourself. Talk about it to someone you trust. Together, you’ll feel stronger!
Threatening someone, on the Internet or elsewhere, is very serious! Some actions can even be punished by law, such as harassment, physical threats, attacks on someone’s reputation, or distributing intimate images of a person without his/her consent.
Keep the evidence of the threats you’re getting. Save and print bullying screenshots, conversations, or emails. Then you can use this evidence to defend yourself.
Don’t keep these threats to yourself. Even if you’re scared to do it, talk to an adult you trust: one of your parents, another family member, or a counsellor. It will make you feel better to share your anxieties, and you’ll have support in finding a solution. Two heads are better than one!
Did you know that most kids engage in cyberbullying at some point or have already done it at least once?
When we’re behind a screen, we have less empathy for the other person because we can’t see his/her reaction. Careful! The consequences of your actions can catch up to you in real life! There are other ways of settling a conflict.
Did you act impulsively? If you post an image that harms someone’s reputation, that’s cyberbullying. Other people can save and use this image, even if you decide to delete it a few hours later.
Don’t forget that if you witness cyberbullying and don’t do anything, you’re an accomplice. You’re adding to the number of people who see it, and that increases the victim’s distress. And if you share false information or a photo, or show it to other people, you’re actively participating in cyberbullying.
First, tell your other friends about what you’re seeing. The more of you there are who know about it, the more power you have over the situation.
Then, react! Get together, report postings on social media, and ask the people involved to say what they think of this kind of aggression. Often a young person who’s bullying someone feels stronger because not many people know what he/she is really doing.
The more of you there are who talk about it, the less comfortable he/she will feel about continuing!
Finally, you can discuss the problem with a trusted adult, who will help you to find solutions.