Today’s technology has reshaped society, connecting us in unprecedented ways. With these connections comes the need to be vigilant online, especially when it comes to online behavior like online bullying. Nearly 40% of individuals feel as though they have been cyberbullied at some point in their life. Here are some resources that can help and some steps you can take to address the issue.
Awareness: It starts with awareness. Know the signs of cyberbullying and be equipped to stand against it. Signs of cyberbullying can include harassing messages or comments, spreading mistruth, or excluding someone from an online group. Reports of cyberbullying have increased by 55% over a ten year span, so knowing the signs is a key step.
Prevention: The more digital platforms an individual uses, the greater their risk of exposure to cyberbullying. While there is no way to completely eliminate cyberbullying, there are steps to reduce the likelihood of these instances. Simple tactics such as thinking before posting, managing location sharing, and keeping sensitive information like phone numbers or passwords private can make a big difference.
Act: Report every instance of cyberbullying to minimize current and potential future impact. For many social media platforms, cyberbullying is in violation of the terms and services. Blocking and reporting the perpetrator allows the platform to act against the violator. Many of these social networking platforms, including Instagram, Facebook, and Snapchat, have outlined additional steps to help prevent and end online abuse, such as restricting someone or hiding posts with offensive language.
If you or someone you know is struggling due to the harmful effects of bullying and cyberbullying, tap into the available resources to help. To connect with a volunteer counselor, contact the 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988 or the Crisis Text Line by texting HOME to 741741.
Every one of us can take steps to eliminate bullying in our communities. Through awareness, prevention, and action we can work towards a future where no one has to endure the pain of cyberbullying.