Know the facts to help stop cyberbullying
Cyberbullying is when youth use technology, such as computers, cell phones or other electronic
devices, to willfully and repeatedly cause someone harm. Cyberbullying can be even more
destructive than bullying because the person can keep their identity hidden, be crueler, reach a
limitless audience and try to avoid consequences. Additionally, it is difficult for those who care about
the recipient of the cyberbullying to identify and comprehend what is happening, possibly leaving the
target even more isolated and subject to being hurt.
What are some cyberbullying examples?
- Setting up a fake social networking account to humiliate another classmate
- Sending a text to a person’s group of friends with gossip that could be true, exaggerated or a
- Using someone else’s username and password to login and send messages from their
- Starting a rumor about someone and spreading it electronically, causing it to go “viral”
- Sending rude, harassing, or threatening messages to a target
What are some signs that someone is being cyberbullied?
- Secrecy, uneasiness and hesitancy around technology
- Not wanting to use technology at all or a sudden spike in technology use
- Not wanting to go to school, skipping school and a drop in grades
- Withdrawal from friends, family, and activities
- Disclosures to friends/family members about online harassment
What are the consequences of cyberbullying?
- Suicidal ideation
- Lack of confidence
- Low self-esteem
- Family problems
- Poor school attendance
- Academic problems
What can I do if I know someone is experiencing cyberbullying?
- Help the person being targeted get help from a trusted adult
- Do not forward or share any hurtful messages
- Stand up and speak out against cyberbullying behavior
- Be an in-person friend
- Send an encouraging private message to the person being targeted so they don’t feel alone
What can I do if I’m experiencing cyberbullying?
- Tell a trusted adult: a parent, caregiver, teacher or coach—keep on telling until you get help
- Save the evidence and document all instances
- Don’t reply and block future messages
- Report cyberbullying to the appropriate source: cell/Internet service providers, law enforcement
and/or school officials
- Unplug. Take some time to engage with friends or hobbies that have nothing to do with your
- Surround yourself with positive support
What can I do to keep myself safe?
- Protect your passwords; always logout of your accounts and secure your privacy settings
- Be intentional with your posting, texting, emailing, pictures, etc.—once it’s out there, it can’t be
- Never open unidentified messages or “friend” unknown people
- Be careful about the PERSONAL and EMOTIONAL information that you share online
- “Don’t feed the trolls” – Don’t engage with people online who are trying to cause trouble
What can caregivers do about cyberbullying?
- Talk to youth about the positives and potential dangers of technology
- Use “What If” examples to help make a plan BEFORE there is a problem
- Whenever possible, keep computers in public areas of the house and create boundaries
around cell phone and computer use
- Stay updated on technology and your child’s online activities
- Create opportunities for your child to succeed in activities away from the computer and other
- If your child is being cyberbullied, talk about their safety and provide unconditional support
You are not alone. Please reach out for support and additional information:
- Jacob Wetterling Resource Center at https://www.zeroabuseproject.org/victim-assistance/jwrc/
- Cyberbullying Research Center at https://cyberbullying.org/
- NetSmartz (a program of the Center for Missing and Exploited Children) at https://www.missingkids.org/NetSmartz
- STOP Cyberbullying at http://stopcyberbullying.org/
- National Crime Prevention Council at https://www.ncpc.org/resources/cyberbullying/
- CommonSense Media at www.commonsensemedia.org/