Ask yourself: Have you ever been a victim of cyberbullying, or have you ever cyberbullied someone?
Cyberbullying is a form of bullying or harassment that happens online, via text, on social media, and in apps. This is all away from your physical space. Since cyberbullying occurs in electronic form, you may not always know the person on the other end of that comment.
According to a study by the Cyberbullying Research Center, approximately 34 percent of the students have experienced cyberbullying in their lifetimes. What’s more, 12 percent admitted to cyberbullying. From hurtful comments to gossip and rumors, this is a behavior that has the power to impact the lives of people on both sides of the screen.
If you’ve felt hurt by the words of others online, or if you’ve hit send without thinking about the recipient of your message, keep reading.
Are you being cyberbullied?
If you happen to be the victim of hurtful comments, actions, or gossip, remember you have the power to control how you react. While words can hurt, take a minute to think about who they are coming from and don’t let this person hold the power of your self-esteem and self-confidence over you. Block the person, log-off, call a friend, or find a community where you can feel safe and empowered.
Here are five tips to help protect yourself from cyberbullying:
- Reach out and let someone know what you are experiencing. There is always help.
- Block the person. You have the power not to engage.
- Report harassing comments, fake profiles, or inappropriate photos. Social media sites have ways of reporting harassing content. You have a right to feel safe in these spaces.
- Never share your passwords, private photos, or personal data (such as address or phone number) online, not even with friends.
- Remember if someone is bullying you, know that their actions are not about you. They may be suffering from low self-esteem, being bullied themselves, or acting out for attention.
Have you ever cyberbullied?
Maybe you haven’t been on the receiving end of cyberbullying, but have you ever spread a negative message about someone or a group online? If so, you’re engaging in the act of cyberbullying. Even if it is a “small” comment or you’re retweeting a rumor, it still has an impact.
Here are three ways to stop cyberbullying:
- Think before you hit “send.” Even if you think something may not be hurtful, pause for a moment to consider how the person on the other end may feel after receiving it.
- Put yourself in the other person’s shoes. How would you feel if someone was commenting on your looks, your sexuality, or your lifestyle? The answer is probably not great.
- Log off. Spend some time offline and get involved with your school, community, or organization that you care about joining. It is all about finding something positive to enjoy in your free time.
Want to stand up to cyberbullying? Join the Free2Luv movement and use your voice to uplift and inspire. Change begins with each of us.