Cyberbullying and You

Kids growing up today are fighting a different form of bullying — cyberbullying. While cyberbullying might seem less "damaging" because it is not face-to-face or physical, it can actually be much more severe. It happens 24/7, and can follow you anywhere — even into your own bedroom.

Cyberbullies can often be more cruel or aggressive, because the Internet can give them a certain level of anonymity, and plenty of bystanders to fuel their activity.


Liking or sharing a cruel post or photo is just as bad as if you posted it.

What is cyberbullying, anyway?

Are you familiar with what cyberbullying is? You might be surprised to know that it can include actions like:

  • Posting or sharing false information or images about someone that will cause harm to them or their reputation — including sharing photos, text messages or emails without their permission.
  • Repeatedly sending someone nasty, mean, insulting or even threatening messages (via text, email, Facebook, instant message, chat rooms, etc.).
  • Pretending to be someone else, and saying or doing things online that aren't true or are intended to cause harm or damage that person's reputation.
  • Pressuring others to exclude someone from a community (online or offline), or banning them from online games, chat rooms, social media pages, etc.
  • Creating websites, posts or polls that are meant to embarrass your peers — for example, rating people by their looks, or asking people to "like" a picture if they think that person is a loser.
  • Using someone's email address and signing them up for pornography or marketing mailing lists, resulting in that person receiving hundreds or thousands of unwanted and inappropriate emails or messages.
  • Ganging up on a person by sending emails or text messages repeatedly, all at once, in a "text war". Not only can this take an emotional toll on a person, it can also result in high cell phone bills for that person and their family!
  • Sending viruses or malicious code in an attempt to damage a person's computer or phone.

There are many other forms of cyberbullying — and unfortunately, it is constantly evolving and growing as technology changes.

Content adapted from mediasmarts.ca/cyberbullying/resources-parents-cyberbullying and the 2012 Cyber Bullying Tactics by Michael Nuccitelli

What can I do?

Like other forms of bullying, you have a role to play in erasing cyberbullying. The most significant thing you can do is refuse to participate in it — don't participate in online gossip, or "like" cruel posts or photos, and tell your friends that what they are doing is cruel if you see them being a cyberbully. It’s not easy standing against a bully — but what would you want someone else to do if YOU were the one being bullied (in real life or in the cyber world)?

Here are some things you can do to help end cyberbullying:

  • Don't respond. If someone bullies you, remember that your reaction is usually exactly what the bully wants. It gives him or her power over you. Who wants to empower a bully?
  • 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 the evidence. The only good news about digital bullying is that the harassing messages can usually be captured, saved, and shown to someone who can help. You need to do this even if it's minor stuff, in case things escalate.
  • 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. Sometimes both are needed. If you're really nervous about saying something, see if there's a way to report the incident anonymously at school.
  • Block the bully. If the harassment's coming in the form of instant messages, texts, or profile comments, do yourself a favour: Use preferences or privacy tools to block the person. If it’s in chat, leave the "room."
  • Be civil. Even if you don't like someone, it's a good idea to be decent and not sink to the other person's level. Also, research shows that gossiping about and trash talking others increases your risk of being bullied. Treat people the way you want to be treated.
  • Don't be a bully. How would you feel if someone harassed you? You know the old saying about walking a mile in someone's shoes; even a few seconds of thinking about how another person might feel can put a big damper on aggression.
  • Be a friend, not a bystander. Watching or forwarding mean messages empowers bullies and hurts victims even more. If you can, tell bullies to stop or let them know harassment makes people look stupid and mean. It's time to let bullies know their behavior is unacceptable — cruel abuse of fellow human beings. If you can't stop the bully, at least try to help the victim and report the behavior.

Content borrowed from www.safeteens.com/tips-to-stop-cyberbullying/

The Cyberbullying Virus

If you are having thoughts of suicide or of hurting yourself or others, please reach out immediately for help. Call 9-1-1 (or your local police or authority, if you do not have 9-1-1) or go to your nearest hospital emergency room.

If you are being bullied, feeling alone or just need to talk to someone who will listen, please reach out to a trained volunteer or professional:



Resources for Parents

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Resources for Youth

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Thank you for stopping by to check out the ERASE Bullying online reporting tool. This tool is accessible through computers and smart phones, and will allow students, parents or other witnesses to report bullying or other threatening behaviour, anytime and anywhere.

The online reporting tool has just been developed and is in the final stages of testing.

If you need help, please reach out to someone you trust, like a parent, friend or teacher. Or, you can reach out to someone who doesn’t know you for support. There is a list of youth-oriented support lines and websites on this site just for you.

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