Today, through cell phones and the Internet, a new form of bullying has emerged—it’s called “cyberbullying.” According to cyberbullying statistics, in 2014 over half (52 percent) of young people who reported being cyberbullied reported being bullied at least once, and 25 percent of that 52 percent reported that they had been bullied two times or more (NoBullying, “Cyber Bullying Statistics 2014,” Sept. 10, 2015, www.nobullying.com/cyber-bullying-statistics-2014). How is this done?
Embarrassing or damaging photographs taken without the knowledge or consent of the subject have been reported by 11 percent of adolescents and teens.
Online threats—33 percent reported that their bullies issued threats.
Hate and put-down comments—a tenth of all middle school and high school students have been on the receiving end of “hate terms” hurled against them.
Just like being bullied at school, cyberbullying often produces the same results. Victims of cyberbullying are more likely to suffer from low self-esteem. Self-esteem is defined as your overall opinion of yourself — how you “feel” about your own abilities and limitations. When you have healthy self-esteem, you feel good about yourself and see yourself as deserving the respect of others. When you have low self-esteem, you put little value on most if not all of your opinions and ideas. In some cases those with low self-esteem may even consider suicide due to continuous bullying. So what can you do if you are being victimized? Here are some tips:
Don’t respond back—this only keeps it going. Responding only fuels the abuser to do more.
Don’t retaliate—getting back at the bully turns you into one and reinforces the bully’s behavior. Help avoid a whole cycle of aggression.
Save cyberbullying messages as proof that the cyberbullying is occurring. This is especially important if the incidents are eventually reported to the police, to parents, school officials or to the bully’s cellular provider.
Talk to a trusted adult—you deserve backup. It’s always good to involve a parent, but if you can’t, a school counselor usually knows how to help.
Don’t take part in the bullying of another person—put yourself in their shoes and ask how you would feel if it were happening to you.
Don’t believe the bully—don’t let bullies destroy your self-esteem. Bullies are cowards! So don’t allow them to get you down by believing what they’re saying about you!
You can find more tips at www.safeteens.com/tips-to-stop-cyberbullying. There are many other resources online that can give you help and more direction.
One of the most important aspects in overcoming bullying is being confident in who you are and how God values you!