Cyberbulling is a real problem today. With the ever-growing speed of social networks, it is very easy for someone to take something out of context, very easy for someone to send a nasty message, very easy for someone to continue to target you and very easy for messages you have sent to get out very quickly. There are thousands of cyberbulling attacks daily through Twitter, Facebook, Email, blogs, texting and more. What is cyberbulling?
"Cyberbullying involves the use of information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated and hostile behavior by an individual or group, that is intended to harm others." - Bill Belsey [quote from cyberbullying.org]
The startling statistics:
According to Wikipedia, in September 2006, ABC News reported on a survey prepared by I-Safe.Org. This 2004 survey of 1,500 students between grades 4–8 reported:
- 42% of kids have been bullied while online. One in four have had it happen more than once.
- 58% of kids admit someone has said mean or hurtful things to them online. More than four out of ten say it has happened more than once.
- 35% of kids have been threatened online. Nearly one in five have had it happen more than once.
According to Bullying beyond the schoolyard: Preventing and responding to cyberbullying, "victims have lower self-esteem, increased suicidal ideation, and a variety of emotional responses, retaliating, being scared, frustrated, angry, and depressed."
It is so sad this happens every single day. As a personal victim of cyberbullying multiple times on multiple platforms, I hate to see it as much as everyone else. I always regret sending a mean message and I hate getting them as well. When I'm personally attacked, it's always easy to send a response back and for the situation to spiral out of control. When you're personally targeted and when you know someone or a group of people has it out for you, that can be hard to deal with. I know that too.
I always try to remember that "This too shall pass" and things will get better and eventually, this person or these people might get tired of the "game" they see in trying to tear you down. If it happens, and especially if it continues more than once, notify someone. Notify your local police, notify your school, notify your parents or just notify someone! Make a record of it. Don't continue to take it by yourself and please try not let it get you down.
More advice - do your best not to respond. When you respond, it only lights the fire more. I have regretted responding a few times to some messages trying to target me and trying to start a fight when I should have let it go. Don't let people get to you :]
There are SO many informational sites out there on cyberbullying. Don't participate in it yourselves and always watch what you say and how you say things. I'm standing against it and I'm not taking it... neither should you.
Input from minds across Twitter:
"It breaks my heart to see people being bullied. The internet has made it even worse on victims, since everything is shared so quickly on sites like Facebook and Twitter. The one thing victims should know though is that there are people out there that can help. Movements like It Gets Better and Love is Louder are places that victims can reach out and get support from people who truly love and care about them."
"According to the i-Safe Foundation, over 25 percent of adolescents and teens have been bullied repeatedly through their cell phones or the Internet. While that may seem like a small percentage, it's way too big in my opinion. We have seen the effects cyberbullying can have. Cyberbullying can lead, ultimately, to someone taking their own life. Just look at the deaths of 15-year-old Phoebe Prince, 13-year-old Megan Meier, and 18-year-old Tyler Clementi. There is absolutely no reason for teens to take to the net or social networks to bully someone. We need to do a better job of making sure worthwhile tools like Facebook and Twitter aren't used to taunt someone to suicide."
"Cyberbullying threatens lives. Maybe that's a touch over-dramatic, but with the rash of deaths we've seen directly related to harassment kids have been the brunt of online, it's a fact. Bullying has been a problem as long as humans have started their lives as kids. When this problem moves online, it is preserved for everyone to see, which makes the problem that much more destructive. It reaches entire networks rather than just a schoolyard (which shouldn't be underestimated in its own right). Cyberbullying destroys self-worth, self-esteem and a an ability to believe in yourself."
"Young children often don't understand the initial and/or long-term harm that cyberbullying inflicts on their victim. While I'm certainly against cyberbullying because of damage it can do to victims, I'm also concerned for those bullying. As we all know, what we post on the internet is pretty much there forever. As children grow up, many that were once seen as bullies, usually do to grow up and realize they were wrong earlier in life. However, with cyberbullying, what these children write or do on the internet, may resurface later in life and come back to haunt them. "
"I think it is a cowardly and immature act to EVER cyber bully. It's sad kids, teens have to be scared at not only school but at home too. I've lost friends to suicide and it is sad to read stories of those that have killed themselves over cyberbullying. Something needs to be done to stop it from happening."
"People tend to say or do things online that they normally wouldn't do in real life. Cyberbullying can get very vicious, very fast."