How to Handle Cyberbullying

If we take a step back from our laptops and cell phones and all of our other electronic gadgets, we will probably realize just how far-reaching our reliance on technology goes.

Feeling and being “connected” is a significant part of our culture of constant communication, especially with adolescents. Because of the pressure that comes with always being plugged-in (or at least charging), children of all ages grapple with a newer form of bullying: cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying has been–and continues to be–an especially invasive and damaging form of abuse among school-age kids. Bullies have a range of convenient communications to choose from when they take aim at their target, including text messages, email, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, various blogs and chat rooms, multimedia messages, and so on.

Any electronic form of communication can essentially become a form of cyberbullying.
This article pointed out a study of just how detrimental this type of bullying can be. A child or teen who becomes the victim of this kind of bullying is more likely to experience depression, isolation and dehumanization after becoming the bully’s bull’s-eye.

According to a 2006 survey organized by the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), over 80 percent of teens who were part of the survey said that their peers who cyberbully do so because they think “it’s funny.” Other answers given were that cyberbullies “don’t think it’s a big deal” and that they’re “encouraged by friends,” among other responses.

Clearly, if 4/5 of the teenage respondents believe this, it seems that cyberbullying has become what teens can almost expect online or on their cells. In order to break the cycle of cyberbullying, the NCPC has helpful suggestions about what victims can do if they find themselves the object of cyber abuse, including some of the following:

  • Stop and block all forms of communication with the bully
  • If you get messages from the bully, delete them without reading them
  • Confide in your friends and parents about what you have experienced
  • Bring your concerns to the moderators on the website the bullying occurs
  • Never, ever post any of your personal information online
  • Do not share your passwords with anyone (besides your parent, for example)
  • Kids should try to keep parents in the loop about what’s happening, even if they’re not being bullied

You can also find some great information on cyberbullying and how to handle it on this site.  The more cyberbullying is reported, the better chance of it becoming a thing of the past.