Bullying is a serious problem, and it can be difficult to know what to do about it.
Bullying can take many forms. It can happen to face to face, through text messages or through the internet on social networking sites, chatting or emails. It also does not discriminate. It can happen to anyone no matter their gender, age or education level. It is not something to joke about or take lightly. It can cause life long damage.
Bullying definitions may differ but most people agree that bullying often involves:
- Imbalance of Power: people who bully use their power to control or harm and the people being bullied may have a hard time defending themselves
- Intent to Cause Harm: actions done by accident are not bullying; the person bullying has a goal to cause harm
- Repetition: incidents of bullying happen to the same the person over and over by the same person or group.
If you have been bullied, it may affect you in many ways. You may not want to go to school or you may find it hard to do your homework. You may be losing sleep, eating more or less than usual, having headaches or stomachaches, or getting sick more often. Know that you do not have to feel this way.
With new technology bullying has been taken to a new level. Cyberbullying is the term for any kind of harassment, embarrassment, or bullying using the Internet, cell phones, or other interactive technology. A teenager involved in cyberbullying can receive a misdemeanor cyberharassment charge or a juvenile delinquency charge. However, if hacking or identity theft is involved, it is a serious federal crime.
Examples of cyberbullying
- Instant Messaging or Text messaging Harassment: sending mean messages to others, posing as the victim online, sending inappropriate photos, sending death threats
- Stealing passwords: posing as the victim, editing the victim’s online profile to include hateful information to offend others so they will not be friends with the victim, locking the victim out of his/her account
- Web sites: creating Web sites or blogs that insult others, posting other peoples’ personal pictures or information
- Pictures sent through E-mail and Cell phones: sending naked pictures of other teens via E-mail or Cell phones, posting these photos online, uploading them on programs where people can download them, taking pictures of teens sneakily and sending them.
What can I do about cyberbullying?
- Speak with a trusted adult about online experiences that make you feel uncomfortable
- Save or print all cyberbullying evidence to show a trusted adult.
- Look into the privacy controls on the Web sites or messaging programs you use – you can control who sees your profile, who can contact you, and more.
- If you are not involved in cyberbullying but you witness it happen – do something. Tell a trusted adult about what you saw and who was involved. And do not encourage the behavior by laughing at it or sending it to your friends.