Cyber Bullying, That term has been used quite a bit in recent years. Although it’s become more common, there is still some confusion on what it really means. What exactly is cyber bullying and what are the effects of cyberbullying? This is when someone uses technology and electronic devices to do mean things, such as start rumours, post embarrassing things on social media, or send inappropriate content or text messages meant to incite violence in some way. These “bullies” use any kind of device they can to get the word out – computers, phones, tablets, chat rooms, through online gaming and social media sites.
When cyber bullying occurs, it is usually followed by negative effects which sometime have dire consequences. The 2011 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey showed that 16% of students in grades 9-12 were cyber bullied in the past year. Additionally, the 2008-2009 School Crime Supplement showed 6% of students in grades 6-12 had encountered some form of cyber bullying. With access to so many tools that could potentially do harm, safety is a primary concern.
The Effects of CyberBullying
The effects of cyberbullying may not be noticeable at first, but the stress factor builds up over time. Many students experiencing cyber bullying feel alone and scared. In most instances, cyber bullying doesn’t start online, but in person. The situation then escalates. Some of the signs of cyber bullying could be:
- Not wanting to go to school
- A sharp drop in grades and performance
- Skipping school
- Sudden self-esteem issues
- Complaints of illnesses
- Use of alcohol or drugs
More Effects of CyberBullying
Cyber bullying is a very serious matter. Students have taken their own lives because they felt pressured, embarrassed and felt they had no other alternatives. With so many technology devices available and the cyber world virtually unsupervised, there is a lot of room to someone to act maliciously. What to do if you’ve been cyber bullied? The first thing that usually has a positive impact is communication. If you’re a student, talk to an adult and explain how you’re feeling and what has been happening. If you’re a parent or adult, start random conversations about cyber bullying and what to do if it occurs, especially if you’re recognizing symptoms. Sometimes the student may not want to say anything in fear of the ramifications. By starting a healthy, non-threatening dialogue, it could make the difference between a positive or negative consequence. Other things that can be done:
- Don’t give out passwords (computer, cell, social media)
- Do not share anything personal with anyone that could potentially put it on the internet. That includes pictures, secrets or information on others that you may have.
- Save the messages or postings as proof.
- Block the person doing the cyber bullying.
- Turn off your technology – this is IMPORTANT. Sometimes, you need to take a break and step away from being engaged all the time.
Although cyber bullying is associated with negative implications, there are some positive outcomes. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has an initiative to counteract cyber bullying. There are also many organizations that encourage healthy dialogue and offer solutions to situations that may occur. Here at Nobullying.com, we advocate for educating, advising and counseling individuals who are concerned with the effects of cyber bullying. Take a stand with us to fight for what’s right. Someone’s future depends on it.