New social media outlets are being created that target teens who are susceptible to the often devastating effects of bullying. Popular sites include Instagram, Ask.fm, Twitter and MeetMe.
According to the “Hartford County Examiner,” more than one in three young people have experienced cyber threats online. Of those, only one in 10 teens tell a parent about the issue.
According to PrevNet.ca, “harassment is when something a person says or does makes someone fear for his or her safety or for the safety of others. Even if the perpetrator did not intend to frighten someone, she or he can be charged with harassment if the target feels threatened. Criminal harassment is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. It’s not just bullying - it’s criminal.”
Sophomore Balea Welch is a victim of cyber bullying through Instagram. One of Welch’s close friends sent her a quote that helped her through the hard times.
“Always remember you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, smarter than you think and twice as beautiful as you’d ever imagined.”
While on social media sites, it is vital to report any kind of cyber bullying. On anything you upload or comment on, there is a report button, and once a page or picture gets five reports, the account is frozen and cannot be logged back into. If no one reports the page, then the bullying continues.
However, that doesn’t stop someone from just creating a new account and continuing the bullying, so notify a parent, administrator or the police.
According to ConnectSafely, there are important tips to stop cyber bullying:
- Don’t respond because your reaction gives the bully power.
- Don’t retaliate because that just creates a cycle of aggression.
- Save and show the evidence to someone who can help.
- Block the bully.
- Reach out for help.
- Use reporting tools. Also, if the abuser threatens physical harm, involve your parents and call the police.
- Do yourself a favor and be civil to everyone, even if you don’t like them.
- Gossiping about others increases your risk of being bullied.
- Don’t be a bully. Even a few seconds of thinking about how another person feels can put a damper on aggression.
- Forwarding mean messages or standing by and doing nothing empowers bullies and hurts victims even more.
If anything, the most important things you can do is to not support the bully’s need for attention and stand behind the person being harassed. There is strength in numbers and the support could save a life.