Cyber-bullying has become more and more of a problem as the cyber world has developed over the last decade. While all age groups are susceptible, teenagers are often targeted. According to the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC) website, there are actions young people can take to stop the flow of cyber abuse.
Block Communication with the Cyberbully
It is essential to block communication in every way possible. Ideas include the following:
- Getting a new cell phone number and only sharing it with trusted friends.
- Changing their email address and being careful how it is used
- Use privacy settings on social networks such as Facebook and only accept friendship requests from genuine friends.
Report Cyberbullying to a Trusted Adult
The NCPC website recommends a teenager confides in a trusted adult if they are being victimized by a cyberbully. Adults have the advantage of maturity and are often able to bring a fresh perspective to the situation. They can help the teen work through the process of blocking and stopping a cyberbully and also bring reassurance and comfort. Educators, school administrators, victim service providers, law enforcement, community partners, and parents can all help to put an end to cyberbullying.
Report Cyberbullying to an Internet Service Provider or Website Moderator
If cyber-bullying takes the form of emails or comments in public forums, it is worth contacting the internet service provider. In many cases if adequate evidence is produced, they will be willing to block the offender. It should be noted that this may only bring temporary relief as some cyberbullies sign up with different details and user names. Sites like www.canprove.com could help with collecting this evidence.
Delete Messages without Reading Them
It is tempting to read messages and look at photos but it is far better for a teen to delete them. This is especially true if they are sent through a private medium such as email or texting. If it is in a more public arena such as on Facebook, the teen should delete any posts on their page and ignore the comments. Cyberbullies thrive on the reactions they get.
Talk to a Friend about the Cyberbullying
The NCPC states that it is good for a teen to discuss the cyberbullying with a friend. A teen of similar age will instinctively understand the level of pain and emotional upset that abusive communication causes and will be able to offer some measure of comfort. A cyberbullied teen often feels hopeless and sad and their self esteem and enjoyment in life may plummet. A good friend can make a huge difference and they can also encourage the teen to follow the steps above in trying to stop the cyberbullying.
It is essential to address the problem of cyberbullying face-on and take steps to stop it. With the support of family, friends and trusted adults, a teenager can halt the flow of abuse and go on to live a life free of cyber insults and harassment.