What is Cyberbullying?
- This is when instant messages, emails, text messages or webpages are used to spread rumours, make threats or harass. It can include written messages, photographs, videos or voice messages.
- The people who are bullying may choose to set up ‘groups’ in an online social network. These ‘groups’ may be used to jeer at or target someone in a cruel way. The people who are organising this may remain anonymous.
- Sometimes, people who use the internet may not be aware of its potential dangers. Someone may make a light-hearted joke or post online and it could develop into a bullying situation if others add cruel remarks or comments.
- People who use technology to bully may say things online or by text that they would never say face to face. They need to know that they are responsible for their words and actions in cyberspace as well as in the real world. If it comes down to it, the source of the abuse, the computer or phone being used, can be identified by the Gardaí.
- This type of bullying is just as harmful and upsetting as face to face bullying.
What to do if you are being cyberbullied?
- Tell someone. Talk to a parent, teacher, friend or someone you can trust.
- Keep a log. While messages may be cruel, you will need to have some proof of what has been happening. This will be helpful if the guards or someone in authority need to help. If you don’t want to keep seeing the messages you could put texts in ‘saved messages’.
- Forward emails onto the adult you have talked to.
- If you are receiving abusive texts, give your phone to an adult to monitor for an evening or over a weekend.
- Keep your details private and block people. Get a new phone sim and make your new number private.
- If you are on a social network, change your ‘privacy settings’ so that your web pages are secure and only accessed by people you know. Check the privacy settings regularly as sometimes the network may change settings without notifying you.
- Be careful about the passwords you use online. Keep this private. You could change your password every month or so to be extra safe.
- If you know the user name of the person bullying, you can block them from your profile.
- Start fresh by setting up a new email address, user name or profile. Ask someone for help if you’re not sure how.
- If you have been getting nasty IMs (instant messages), change your online status to ‘hidden’ so other internet users will not know you’re online.
- Don’t reply to abusive emails or texts. Giving a response may make the situation worse.
- Don’t add people you don’t know to your list of online friends. Be wary of strangers online.
- If you’re messaging a friend and something seems odd, it could be someone else who has hacked their details so just end the conversation.
- Log off. You can choose to walk away by logging off or switching off. By doing this, you will feel in control of the situation.
- Report it. If you are being bullied online, the service provider or network can give you information about what to do. Look for ‘Help Centre’ or ‘Report Abuse’. There will be advice about what you can do and how to report to the network provider.
What do i do if my friend is cyberbullying someone else?
- Talk to your friend. Explain that what they are doing is wrong. Let them know that what they are doing is bullying (they may not realise this).
- Explain how serious this is and the effects it could have on the person they are bullying.
- Let them know that there could be serious consequences for everyone involved.
- Point out that bullying over the internet is just as serious as face to face bullying.