How do I handle and seek help for cyber bullying?

Some background, some drama

Being cyberbullied can make you feel helpless. Cyberbullying can occur anywhere, even at home, via email, texts, cell phones and social media websites 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with potentially hundreds of people involved. For those who suffer cyberbullying, the effects can be devastating, leaving you feeling hurt, humiliated, angry, depressed or even suicidal. But no type of bullying should ever be tolerated.

Do’s and Don’ts

Cyberbullying is an ongoing issue. Cyberbullying can be so hurtful because the bullying can often be very public. Often the person being bullied can't get away from it because the messages come through on their mobile phone, to their email account or on social media. The “How Do I" series tries to list down a few Do’s and don’ts to guide you to handle and seek help for cyber bullying.

Do’s

  • Ignore and not respond to minor teasing or name calling if you can avoid it. Sometimes bullies are encouraged by seeing a reaction.
  • Keep a record of the bullying messages you receive as hard evidence against the bully.
  • Reach out to your parents, friends, a teacher, school administrators, counsellors and even police officers who can help you deal with cyberbullying. There is no reason to suffer bullying alone.
  • Stop all communication with the bully when possible.
  • Report bullies to the website administrator. They may get them kicked off the site.
  • Report to a trusted adult. If you don't report incidents, the cyberbully will often become more aggressive.
  • Report threats of harm and inappropriate sexual messages to the police. The cyber bully’s actions can be prosecuted by law.
  • Be relentless and keep reporting each and every bullying incident until it stops. There is no reason for you to ever put up with cyberbullying.
  • Exercise, meditation, positive self-talk, muscle relaxation and breathing exercises are all good ways to manage the stress from cyberbullying.
  • Spend time doing things you enjoy.
  • As parents, you can educate your child about cyberbullying. Also set limits with technology for kids. Discipline kids against excessive use of social media.

Dont’s

  • ¬Don’t sink to the bully’s level. Starting your own cyberbullying campaign against the bully will get you nowhere, except for trouble.
  • Don’t forward bullying content or messages. You never know how far an email chain can go.
  • Don’t believe the bully. Don’t let bullies destroy your self-esteem. No one deserves to be harassed.
  • Don't blame yourself. It is not your fault no matter what a cyberbully says or does to harass you.
  • Don’t try to view cyberbullying from a different perspective and make excuses for the bully. Don't give them the satisfaction of harassing you.
  • Don't make a cyberbullying incident worse by dwelling on it. Instead, delete any cyberbullying messages and focus on positive experiences.

Last words

There are lots of reasons that young people bully others. Sometimes it's about trying to become popular, intimidate or make someone afraid of them. Sometimes it's a reaction to being bullied themselves or because they are jealous of the person they are bullying. It’s important to stand up and face the bully than to give in and lose your mental balance and peace of mind.

Sources and citations