cyberbullying

The Issue

According to StopBullying.gov, Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets. It can happen via text message and within apps, on social media, forums, and gaming sites. Cyberbullying includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else. It can also include sharing personal or private information about someone else causing embarrassment or humiliation. Signs that a child may be a victim of cyberbullying include:

  • Avoiding the computer, cellphone, and other technological devices or appears stressed when receiving an e-mail, instant message, or text
  • Withdrawing from family and friends or acting reluctant to attend school and social events
  • Avoiding conversations about computer use
  • Exhibiting signs of low self-esteem including depression and/or fear
  • Has declining grades
  • Has poor eating or sleeping habits

By the Numbers

20-30%

of kids report having been cyberbullied in their lifetime.1

10%

of kids report having been a cyberbully.2

Pew reports that

95%

of teens have access to a smartphone, making this a common tool for cyberbullying.

How to Talk About It

Discussions about positive, healthy habits online should start early and happen often. Use these discussion starters to get the conversation started.

Ask

  • Has anyone ever tried talking to you online about inappropriate or sexual things? What did you do?
  • Do you trust all of your online friends? Are there any people you should unfriend or block?
  • Do you know how to report, flag, or block people on the websites and apps you use? Can you show me?
  • Who would you talk to if you were upset by a request you received online?

Reinforce

If you see something online that's meant to hurt someone, don't "like" or share it. Think about how you'd feel if someone did that to you.

It's OK not to like someone. It's not OK to bully them.

If someone cyberbullies you, you may want to send a mean comment back, but it could make this worse. Instead, save the evidence and report it.

Being a good digital citizen means standing up for others. Take steps to help peers being cyberbullied (eg., post nice comments, sit with them at lunch, report the harassment, etc.).

Recommended Resources

Potty-Mouth Pete is trying to spread bad netiquette all over the Internet. Can Clicky, Webster, and Nettie stop him before it’s too late?

A teen regrets his participation on a website created to rate others at his school.

Lily and Gabriela aren’t getting along, on- or offline. Will their decisions lead to common ground or digital drama?

References

[1] The Annual Bullying Survey 2017(Rep.). (2017, July). Retrieved February, 2019, from Ditch the Label website: https://www.ditchthelabel.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/The-Annual-Bullying-Survey-2017-1.pdf

[2] Hinduja, S., & Patchin, J. W. (2015, October 21). Our latest research on cyberbullying among school students. Retrieved February 1, 2019, from https://cyberbullying.org/2015-data

[3] Pew Research Center, May 2018, “Teens, Social Media & Technology 2018