Maybe you know a bully, have been bullied, or were a bully. Either way, bullying is an experience no one should have to go through.
This is a goal Pacer’s National Bullying Prevention Center hopes to accomplish – and, to do so; the center holds an annual ‘National Bullying Prevention Month’ each October to spread awareness.
The campaign partners with well-known organizations such as Disney as well as online personalities such as YouTuber Bethany Mota. Pacer created National Bullying Prevention Month in 2006 to disprove the belief that bullying was a ‘rite of passage’. In fact, studies show the opposite is true- that the effects of bullying can lead to anxiety and depression.
What Is Cyberbullying?
With the Internet, bullies now have another outlet to spread hate. Cyberbullying is another form of bullying and can be done on various platforms such as social media, texting and more.
Cyberbullying is tricky, as often times the bully can remain unknown, and it can be very difficult to find the identity of the bully. Furthermore, any hateful messages or images spread can be tough to erase, as they may have been shared with other people. Cyberbullying is an issue across the nation – in fact, 21 percent of students aged 12-18 report being cyberbullied at one point.
Cyberbullying can take many forms – which is why it is important to know how to identify it. Examples include rumors spread from one person to another electronically, or someone posting an image of you that you did not consent to. If it makes you feel uncomfortable or upset, it is important to take action.
Your Online Identity
The Internet is a great place to find information, play games as well as meet new people. However, it is always important to keep yourself safe, as well as know how to react to cyberbullying.
Firstly, make sure to save all evidence of bullying, and print it out. Secondly, it is recommended to talk to someone you trust, such as your parents, friends or a teacher. Social media websites have the option of ‘blocking’ someone, as well as features that allow you to ‘report’ inappropriate content.
To be a good Internet citizen, make sure to always have these things checked. Make sure you have a strong password to keep your accounts secure. A ‘strong’ password does not contain information about you, is creative and private to only you.
Secondly, social media can harm or help your Internet reputation. Always make sure to keep a positive profile, and never post anything you would not want others to see. Likewise, do not post anything of others that they might not want to be posted. Do not share your private information – address and phone numbers for example – to just anyone. Make sure you only interact with people you know in real life.
The Internet is a wonderful treasure chest of exciting possibilities – make sure you use it well. If you are being bullied, always take the high road and ignore the bully – you are kinder than them, and that is all that matters. I wish all readers a safe journey through the Internet!