How to recognize the signs
Very often kids don’t realize they are being cyberbullied. There are so many different forms of cyberbullying and keeping track of how people are interacting with you on the various social networking sites and forums can cause confusion. Don’t worry though because we’re here to help. We’ve listed recognizable signs that you or somebody you know is being cyberbullied.
Ask yourself (or someone you know) these questions about your online experiences:
- Is the person or people that you’re interacting with you doing it in a negative way?
- Are you receiving abusive, hurtful or mean comments or posts – publicly or privately?
- Have the negative interactions been taking place over a period of time?
- Does the person interacting with you have a negative online reputation? Are they rude and consistently posting negative comments about others online?
- Are you tagged in posts that make you feel uncomfortable or that reflect badly on you?
- Are you deleting other people’s comments or posts frequently?
How do you feel?
Do the online interactions make you feel any of the following?
Who is involved?
There is a range of possibilities as to who the cyberbully could be:
- A complete stranger
- An individual you know very well in your circle of friends
- A friend of a friend
- A group of people you don’t know
- A group of people you do know
- A group of your friends
- A group of friends of friends
Think! Remember, an individual or a group of people can commit cyberbullying. It is a difficult thing to recognize especially if the person/people involved are your friends. If the person/people are making you feel upset, and if they are putting you down, sending you threatening messages or posting rude things about you, then you are being cyberbullied by them.
Regressing from the social web
While cyberbullying happens online it can spill over to face-to-face situations, especially if it’s someone you know in school or in a club. They may take the cyberbullying offline and continue it when they see you.
This can be very scary because you feel like there is no escape from the bully. If the bullying is happening in school or in a club tell a trusted adult that will be able to deal with the bullying or ask your parents to contact your school or club about what is happening.
Changes in behavior
Have the negative online interactions caused your behaviour to change? If the cyberbullying is making you feel angry or upset it can significantly change the way you interact with people in your life and in social situations such as:
- You may not want to go to school
- You may not want to talk to people
- You may avoid going online
- You may prefer to say at home and avoid going to scheduled sports, club or social outings
- You may spend more and more time in your bedroom
- You may feel more pessimistic about your life or the future
When someone’s words and actions affect you so much that you are unable to carry on with life the way you did before the cyberbullying began, you really need to talk to somebody you trust who can help and support you. You can overcome cyberbullying, and your own experience may help you to help another person. Cyberbullying can affect somebody for their entire life if they don’t seek help.
Cyberbullying can have a negative effect on your wellbeing and confidence. It can be hard to accept, especially if it is a friend that is cyberbullying you. Talk to someone you trust and try to deal with the cyberbullying as soon as possible. Don’t suffer in silence because there are lots of people who care about you and who will help if you speak to them.