If you’re like most teenagers, you spend a lot of time on a cell phone or instant messenger chatting with friends and uploading photos, videos, and music to websites. You may have online friends whom you’ve never met in person, with whom you play games and exchange messages. Teens’ lives exist in a variety of places such as school hallways, part-time jobs, and friends’ houses. Now many teens also have lives on the Internet. And bullying has followed teens online.
Online bullying, called cyberbullying, happens when teens use the Internet, cell phones, or other devices to send or post text or images intended to hurt or embarrass another person. Cyberbullying is a problem that affects almost half of all American teens. Whether you’ve been a victim of cyberbullying, know someone who has been cyberbullied, or have even cyberbullied yourself, there are steps you and your friends can take to stop cyberbullying and stay cyber-safe.
How Are Teens Cyberbullied?
- Pretend they are other people online to trick others
- Spread lies and rumors about victims
- Trick people into revealing personal information
- Send or forward mean text messages
- Post pictures of victims without their consent
- Don’t think it’s a big deal
- Don’t think about the consequences
- Are encouraged by friends
- Think everybody cyberbullies
- Think they won’t get caught
How Do Victims React?
- Blocking communication with the cyberbully
- Deleting messages without reading them
- Talking to a friend about the bullying
- Reporting the problem to an Internet service provider or website moderator
- Seeking revenge on the bully
- Avoiding friends and activities
- Cyberbullying back
How Can I Prevent Cyberbullying?
- Refuse to pass along cyberbullying messages
- Tell friends to stop cyberbullying
- Block communication with cyberbullies
- Report cyberbullying to a trusted adult
- Speaking with other students, as well as teachers and school administrators, to develop rules against cyberbullying
- Raising awareness of the cyberbullying problem in your community by holding an assembly and creating fliers to give to younger kids or parents
- Sharing NCPC’s anti-cyberbullying message with friends
What Else Can I Do To Stay Cyber-safe?
- Never post or share your personal information online (this includes your full name, address, telephone number, school name, parents’ names, credit card number, or Social Security number) or your friends’ personal information.
- Never share your Internet passwords with anyone, except your parents.
- Never meet anyone face-to-face whom you only know online.
- Talk to your parents about what you do online.
For More Information
- www.ncpc.org provides information about stopping cyberbullying before it starts.
- Stop Cyberbullying Before It Starts (PDF) provides useful information for parents.
- Cyberbullying.us provides cyberbullying research, stories, cases, downloads, fact sheets, tips and strategies, news headlines, a blog, and a number of other helpful resources on their comprehensive public service website.
- www.stopcyberbullying.org has a fun quiz to rate your online behavior, information about why some people cyberbully, and how to stop yourself from cyberbullying.
- www.wiredsafety.com provides information about what to do if you are cyberbullied.
- www.stopbullyingnow.com has information about what you can do to stop bullying.