Teens: What to Do if You Get Bullied Online
Online bullying is rampant these days. Cyberbullying may come in the form of messages, images, audio or videos that are meant to hurt a particular person. This hurtful content is spread through instant messaging, chat rooms, text messages, emails and social media platforms. Kids used to be bad about picking on each other in school. Smartphones, tablets and the prevalence of Internet access for children has made bullying with words even easier and more effective at the same time. Here is what every teen should know about what to do if they start to get bullied online.
The first thing to think about is to try and stay as calm as possible. Don’t respond to messages that were designed to upset you. Doing this will often make the situation much worse by adding fuel to the fire. A good start for calming down is blocking that particular person from contacting you from whatever site, app or number you are using. Whether it is email, phone text or social media, it is almost always possible to block that individual. It is also important for you to not engage them with similar responses and insults. Take the higher ground and stay out of it. Two people squabbling is not the same as one person being a bully.
Get it Together
If someone says things to bother you, tell them to leave you alone. Save all the messages they send you on every account. Don’t delete any messages and don’t write anything back other than requests to please leave you alone. You can show your parents or school administrators when a cyberbully keeps repeating the harassment and they can then make sure that the cyberbully leaves you alone.
Inform an Adult
The next thing to do is inform an adult you trust. You can tell your parents, guardians, teachers, mentors, older siblings, religious leaders, etc. The important thing is that you tell someone you believe will take the right steps towards solving the problem. People that get mean and nasty can make things pretty complicated and mess with your mind. It’s perfectly normal if you feel might need a few sessions of therapy just to get back on track. Speaking up to those who care about you is an important step in getting relief from the stress.
Get a New One
Your parents and grandparents did not have text messages or online chats to save and show others. Once their phone number ended up on a bathroom wall, the only way to stop the callers was to get a new number. Sometimes, online bullies have a similar affect on tarnishing reputations to where countless strangers join in on a taunt. If the bully is persistent, sometimes the best thing is to get a new number or create another profile or user account. Change your profile information to keep your information private. A positive online reputation is easiest to maintain when we don’t give out all of our information to the public. A bad online reputation is easy to attain but not so easy to restore. Sometimes we have to get rid of all of that and start with less.
Use the Internet
The great thing about the Internet is that everyone has a voice. There are many resources and online communities that are looking out for people with similar issues in their lives. Dealing with cyberbullying and online harassment is something that many other people have had to go through in the past several years. We have all made mistakes online and have also had to deal with mean people in ways that wouldn’t exist without the Internet. Just as bullies are using technology to their advantage, take advantage of the Internet for your own needs and desires. In addition to the knowledge available on the subject, there are many people online ready to speak with you and give you personal advice and support that you need. Make sure you still talk to your parents and have them check to make sure that you are going to a reputable site for your information.
In conclusion, online bullying is real and knowing how to deal with it is an absolute necessity for every teenager. Be strong and face online bullying head on. With the support of those close to you, you will be able to make the right decisions. If by any chance you receive bullying messages in any form, do not reciprocate. Doing this also makes you a bully. Don’t give cyberbullies the luxury of taking up space in your mind.