Q1: Is cyber bullying different from normal bullying?
A1: Excellent question; the answer is yes.
Using technology like the mobile phone or the internet helps this type of bullying to affect someone who’s not just at school but at home as well. Because the World Wide Web, or the cyberspace, is not a real world – it is only a virtual one – bullying can happen twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, not only in the school hallways, classroom, or playgrounds. It can invade your personal space, and affect you anytime, while you’re with your family, or in your bedroom. It can make someone feel upset or threatened wherever they are.
Moreover, because the Internet allows you to create usernames and aliases, some of which can be funny or self-descriptive, it can sometimes be hard to identify who the cyberbully is. They can post things on a website anonymously, or set up fake emails, Facebook profiles or Twitter accounts. They could also block their numbers or register themselves as “private number” holders.
Another difference is that this type of bullying can be easily and quickly done on a very large scale, like a stadium with hundreds of spectators! The speed and reach of emails, text messages, website links, YouTube videos, pictures, and other harassment materials makes for a larger audience, many of whom might not even realize that they’re being bullies by passing on the emails, texts and picture messages, or participating in the comments, retweets and “likes” as bystanders.
The Internet has even changed the “profile” of a bully. The bully no longer has to be the big tough kid who steals your money or makes mean comments class, knowing they’re supported by their clique, or group of friends. The cyberbully can be anyone with Internet, who wants to annoy someone else. Also, the victim is no longer the bookworm, or the one who doesn’t have many friends to stand up for them. It could be a popular girl, a
In addition, and because of the above reasons, cyber bullying can last for a much longer time than face-to-face bullying, and can build over weeks and months of online nastiness. For example, an English girl who was 18 in 2009 kept bullying a schoolmate online (and sometimes offline) for four years before she got arrested for posting something as serious as a death threat to her on Facebook.
However, there is one way in which cyber bullying could be better than face-to-face bullying: Evidence. With normal bullying, there might be no way could you prove someone has been attacking you, as usually bullies choose a time when you’re alone, and it can be one person’s word against another’s. On the other hand, with cyber bullying, you can save texts, print out emails, or take screenshots of instant messages, pictures, web pages, and links to videos …etc. This can help you report the bully, and can be used as proof to catch them and stop them from upsetting someone; you or a friend.
One last thing! Cyber bullying incidents may be unintentional. Some people perceive their nasty comments as jokes, and might have not considered the possible negative results or consequences of their actions. This could be taken into consideration.
Q2: How do I know I’m being cyberbullied?
A2: Follow The Seven Steps!
- Is it happening through the internet or a mobile phone?
- Is it repetitive (happening more than once)?
- Is it hateful, bashful, and making you feel hurt?
- Do you feel weak and inferior, alone, scared, as if someone is watching you?
- Does it involve someone wanting to embarrass you, like someone sharing something without your permission?
- Has it continued for a relatively long time?
- Is it increasing in intensity (for example, by a larger number of people joining in)?
If your answer is “Yes” to more than two of those questions …then your alerts should go off.
Q3: How do I know if a friend is being cyberbullied?
A3: We understand that you care a lot about your friends. Here are a few things to look for in case you notice something suspicious:
- Are they spending far more or far less time on texting, Facebook, Twitter, Ask.fm, or online gaming? Perhaps they’re having trouble there.
- Do they often seem annoyed, stressed or look flustered or confused after using their phones or log in to their social networking accounts while you hang out together?
- Have they mentioned deactivating their accounts or talked about privacy settings?
- Have they changed or considered changing their mobile phone number?
- How have they been acting withdrawn lately? Have they started calling less, or not wanted to hang out and meet friends?
- Do they complain about headaches or upset stomachs sometimes?
- Have they been coming late to school, or saying they’re off “sick” sometimes?
- Do they get really tense when someone they trust approaches their phone or laptop?
- Do they seem sad, like they’re putting themselves down, or show less self-confidence?
It’s often hard to know, but you can always help.
Q4: What to do then? How can I help my friend?
First: never, ever, forward messages or pictures. Though you may not have started it, by the mere act of sharing or retweeting, you could become of the vicious cyber bullying loop. Support your friend! You could use “Report Abuse” buttons on websites. You could even stand for them by speaking up and telling a trusted adult; someone who can actually help you to stop the cyberbully from attacking your friend.