Cyber Bullying

Cyber Bullying

Cyber-bullying is when an individual bullies another or others, over the internet or mobile phone by sending abusive emails/texts directly and posts nasty comments and/or humiliating images for others to see, which could potentially be seen by thousands and cause many more to become involved. Cyber-bullying can be hard for the victimised individual to get away from, as it can happen anywhere, anytime (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Instant Message, Chat rooms) and can be difficult for the victim to talk about. Often bullies can remain anonymous by creating fake profiles and blocking numbers.

In 2014, 52% of young people reported being cyber bullied and 25% of teenagers reported that they had experienced repeated bullying via their phone. It was reported that 55% of teens who use social media had witnessed outright bullying, of which 95% ignored this behaviour. Unfortunately, cyber-bullying victims, in an attempt to fight back, become the aggressor and continue this behaviour periodically. Over half of young people surveyed in 2014 said that they never confided in their parents since cyber bullying has happened to them.

Often, cyber-bullying can lead to depression, self-esteem issues, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder, self-harm and suicide. Unfortunately, there have been many suicide deaths as a result of being attacked online, which is rising throughout the community. In 2014, there were 268 registered suicides in Northern Ireland, of which, 207 were men.

Since cyber-bullies cannot see your reaction, they are often likely to go much further to ridicule and harass you than they would face-to-face. The more far-reaching the bullying, the more humiliating it can become.
Cyber-bullying can include:
o Posting of pictures to hurt or embarrass you
o Lies or rumours being spread about you via text or social media
o Somebody pretending to be you online
o Being duped into revealing personal information
o Receiving threatening emails/texts/instant messages

When you log onto a forum or chat room, always use a nickname! Nicknames are a fun wat to hide your identity when you’re chatting online, but it’s never a good idea to pretend to be someone you’re not. Some people who use chat rooms lie about who they are, so it is never a good idea to give out personal information about you, such as your full name, address or school. If anyone ever asks you for this information, you should tell a trusted adult straight away. You should never arrange to meet up with someone who you have met online.

However, if you do decide to meet someone, you should bring a trusted adult and meet in a public place. A majority of chat rooms are moderated and this means that an adult is watching what is being said to make sure no one is being nasty. They can remove messages and also ban people from leaving messages if they are upsetting.
Actions to take when you’re being cyber-bullied:
o Save the evidence of the bullying and report it to a trusted adult, such as a parent, teacher or school counsellor
o Report threats of harm and inappropriate messages to the police
o Report every incident until it stops, including reporting them to the Internet Service Provider (ISP) and management team of the social network
o Prevent communication by deleting and blocking their number/email address/page

How to cope:
o Don’t blame yourself. You shouldn’t be ashamed of what you are or how you feel.
o View the bully from a different perspective. They are frustrated and unhappy. They want to control your feelings. Don’t give them the satisfaction.
o Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t dwell on it by looking and reading the message’s and comments over and over. Delete the messages when they have been reported/recorded by a trusted adult and focus on positive experiences.
o Get help. Many issues can arise from the way you’ve been made to feel. Just because you are talking to someone, such as a counsellor, doesn’t mean there is something wrong with you.
o Learn to deal with stress as cyber-bullying can be overwhelming. Exercise, meditation, positive self-talk, muscle relaxation and breathing exercises are all goof ways to manage stress.
o Spend time doing things you enjoy, such as, activities/hobbies that being you pleasure. The bullying will have less significance on your life.

All individuals have the right to be safe and respected.
If you are afraid to talk to someone, but are being attacked online, you can phone the UK helpline on 0207 837 7324 or the Yellow Ribbon helpline on 079 9903 0220.