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Cyberbullying, what to look for || If you See It, Say It

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see it say it


Cyberbullying – What can we do?

Back when my son was in elementary school, of course bullies existed. Actually, they were pretty easy to spot back in the 1990s. They would try to intimidate others on the playground, chase you and maybe even punch you under the slide. I know, because my son was bullied when he was young. He will probably not be excited I am talking about him today, since he is now 32 years old, married and has a career.

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Well, one day he had enough of his bully, so he punched him in the nose. Long story short, the kid had a bloody nose, my son got in trouble, but the bully never bothered him again.  Not saying it was right or wrong, but it was over and everyone went on their way.

Fast forward to today, bullies are still out there; the new name for them is Cyberbullies. These guys or ladies are not always easy to spot. They use technology as their weapon of choice. Many of you younger parents most likely know about this.

The most common places where cyberbullying occurs are:

  • Social Media; such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Twitter
  • Text Message
  • Instant Message (via devices, email provider services, apps and social media messaging features) and
  • Email

Some cyberbullies even create fake online accounts so they can remain anonymous and go after their target with ease. However, if the content becomes intense, you should report it to local law enforcement. It is not difficult for police departments with the technology they have to track down a fake account.

Now some cyberbullies are very bold. They seem to not have a care in the world to go after another person online with their own profile. What they might not think about is their negative, mean, hurtful content creates a permanent public record of their views, activities and behavior.

This public record can be thought of as an online reputation, which is accessible to local police, schools, future employers, colleges, clubs and others who may research them now or in the future. Cyberbullying can harm the online reputations of everyone involved – not just the person being bullied.

How common is cyberbullying?

Nearly 43% of kids have been bullied online. One in four has had it happen more than once. … More than 80 percent of teens use a cell phone regularly, making it the most common medium for cyber bullying. Sixty-eight percent of teens agree that cyber bullying is a serious issue. Sadly, cyberbullying has been reported as a catalyst for teen suicides, and according to the Centers for Disease Control, about 4,400 deaths occur from suicide each year. There are about 100 attempts of suicide to every one successful suicide.

How can we stop Cyberbullying?

  • Know it’s not your fault. …
  • Don’t respond or retaliate. …
  • Save the evidence. …
  • Tell the person to stop. …
  • Reach out for help – especially if the behavior really gets to you. …

 

  • Use available tech tools. …
  • Protect your accounts. …
  • Contact local law enforcement. …
  • If someone you know is being bullied, take action. If you See It, Say It

I would love to see schools have a Cyberbullying/Bullying Education Class at the start of each year, and then have each student sign an Anti-Bullying pledge. What do you think?

Our next See It, Say It Topic will be on Sexual Assaults on Campuses.

Sources:  StopBullying.com, Centers for Disease Control, Connect Safely

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Toni McDowra
Toni McDowra graduated from Texas A&M Commerce with a Bachelor in Business & Marketing. She started her career right here in Paris, TX selling media advertising for KBUS radio.