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How do I: Prevent Cyberbullying

This guide covers Information, Media, and Digital Literacy concepts and Digital Citizenship for Gr. 9-12 students, as well as teacher and parents.

Prevent Cyberbullying

Photo Credit: Josh Kid, licensed under Creative Commons

So, what about cyberbullying?

Definition of Cyberbullying:

The use of communication technologies such as the Internet, social networking sites (social media), websites, email, test messages and instant messages to repeatedly intimitate or harass others.

 

Cyberbullying includes:

  • Sending mean or threatening emails or text/instant messages.
  • Posting embarrassing photos of someone online.
  • Creating a website to make fun of others.
  • Pretending to be someone by using their name.
  • Tricking someone into revealing personal or embarrassing information and sending it to others.

Source: RCMP Bullying and Cyberbullying

 

Unique Characteristics of Cyberbullying:

  • Anonymity - cyber bullies can be hard to avoid because you may not know who they are
  • Accessibility - cyber bullies can attack anytime, day or night, opposed to just at school
  • Punitive Fears - victims often do not report cyberbullying due to fear of their tormentors or because parents may take their technology away
  • Bystanders - there are far more bystanders to cyberbullying than traditional bullying due to the reach of technology
  • Disinhibition - cyber bullies can be more ruthless and persistent in their attacks due to their anonymity and belief that they cannot be caught

Source: Violenece Prevention Works, Hazelden Publishing

 

Dangers for Children and Adolescents Who Are Bullied:

  • Depression
  • Social anxiety, loneliness, isolation
  • Stress related health problems (e.g., headaches, stomach aches)
  • Low self esteem
  • School absenteeism and academic problems
  • Aggressive behaviours
  • Contemplating, attempting, or committing suicide

Dangers for Children and Adolescents Who Bully Others:

  • Not knowing the difference between right and wrong
  • Delinquency and substance use
  • Academic problems and increased school dropout rate
  • Aggression
  • Sexual harassment and dating aggression
  • Gang involvement and criminal adulthood
  • Difficulties in their relationships with others
  • Being bullied at the hands of others

Source: RCMP Bullying and Cyberbullying

Warning Signs that Someone you Know is being Cyberbullied: 

  • The person appears sad, moody, or anxious
  • The person avoids school
  • The person withdraws from or shows lack of interest in social activites
  • The person experineces a drop in grades or decline in academic performance
  • The person appears upset after using the computer or being online
  • The pearson appears upset after viewing a text message

Source: Violence Prevention Works, Hazelden Publishing

Young Canadians Cyberbullying: Dealing with Online Meanness, Cruelty and Threats

Click on the image above for a full screen view.

Source: Media Smarts, http://mediasmarts.ca/ycww

Click on the above image for the full Infographic & more information!

Source: PREVNet Cyberbullying

Important Facts:

Reporting bullying is an effective way to get it stopped

Bullying is a relationship problem.  It is about power and the abuse of power.  Adult intervention is normally required to correct the power imbalance.

 

Fighting back against a bully typically makes the bullying worse

Showing aggression towards a bully often results in a victim experiencing prolonged and more severe bullying.  If you are experiencing bullying, be assertive towards the bully without showing aggression.  This sends the message that the bullying behviour is not okay and that you refuse to be a victim.  Instead, you will report the bullying to a responsible adult if it continues.  

Source: PREVNet Facts & Solutions

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