Being a digital citizen means acting in an ethical and respectful way online and in the digital world. Just as we do not condone bullying in the real, physical world, so too we do not accept bullying in the digital or virtual world.
Online bullying: Talk, Report, Support
Online bullying is using technology to deliberately and repeatedly bully someone. It is the use of social media, e-mail, instant messaging, chat rooms, mobile phones, or other forms of information technology to deliberately harass, threaten, or intimidate someone. The problem is compounded by the fact that a bully can hide behind an electronic veil, disguising his or her true identity. This makes it difficult to trace the source, and encourages bullies to behave more aggressively than they might, face-to-face.
It can include
- posting or texting mean comments
- hurtful images or videos
- making threats
- sending insults or racial or ethnic slurs
- imitating others online to set them up
- excluding others online
- nasty online gossip and chat
How to deal with it?
- talk to someone you trust straight away—like a parent, sibling, uncle/aunty, teacher or friend
- don’t retaliate or respond—they might use it against you
- block the bully and change your privacy settings
- report the abuse to the service and get others to as well
- collect the evidence—keep mobile phone messages and print emails or social networking conversations
- remember you didn’t ask for this—nobody deserves to be bullied
What if someone is being bullied online?
If you know a friend or someone at school is being cyberbullied:
- don’t join in—don’t comment on posts, images or videos that will hurt others. Manners matter.
- don’t forward or share posts, images or videos that will hurt others
- leave negative groups and conversations
- report bullying to someone that can help—this can be an anonymous report to a parent or teacher
- you can also get help online
- if you are confident, call others on their bullying and ask them to stop—“Enough. This isn’t funny”
- support your friend—let them know you are there for them—”I heard about those crap posts. I’m here for you”
Am I an online bully?
Sometimes it can be easy to fall into a trap of feeling like you need to defend yourself aggressively, like you need to be the most popular, or needing acceptance online by pointing out other people’s flaws. You might even be trying to hurt someone on purpose. These actions might seem innocent or you might think that you’re ‘just joking’ but they can really affect the experiences other people have online.
By making other people feel upset, excluded or scared, you are not only affecting them, but you are also showing the world what kind of person you are. There are better ways to gain respect, popularity, strength and social standings! Be a part of positive conversations, regardless of differences in opinion. This way, too, you are preserving your digital reputation.
Being a bystander and doing nothing encourages bullying.
A Cyberbullying story can start like this…
“I’m 14 and the girl who’s been my best friend is the meanest person I’ve ever met. She sends me rude and demeaning Facebook messages and comments. She turns my other friends against me by telling lies and posting rude comments on Facebook. She’s a real bitch on Facebook every night, then the next day at school she acts as if nothing is wrong! We go to a Christian school so you would think that most people would be easy to forgive, wouldn’t curse or swear, wouldn’t lie or steal, but my friend never forgives anyone, she swears and curses at me all the time, and she lies about me and to me. I always go to counsellors about her but she never changes. Lately she’s been telling some of the guys to turn against me as well. They put hurtful things on my facebook page, and they say things to my face. I’m surprised I don’t come home crying everyday. She tells me things like “you can never be with him because he’s too good for you.” It hurts alot and I wish she would just stop.” Mandy icybersafe.com