Cyber Bullying – Let’s take a stand
By Erin Pendal, Kalani Brown and Jessica Stehbens
Year 8 – Bribie Island SHS
21% of Australian children, aged 11 – 18 years old are victims of cyber bullying each year (Beyond Blue 2019). Cyber bullying or online bullying is a form of harassment using social-media platforms or mobile devices. It has become increasingly common, especially among teenagers, as the popularity of technology has expanded and advanced. Cyberbullying can occur in group chats or in a one-on-one situation. This bullying can take the form of photo-shopped images with cruel memes, hateful, degrading comments passed between people in a larger group or targeted ridicule made in a public forum.
It is often said that being a bully is a sign of insecurity. On-line, teenagers are sprouting hurtful things that they would never dare to say in person; they feel protected by the anonymity of cyberspace.
However, the effects are real. When someone is being cyber -bullied, it can cause them to be socially excluded, have low self-esteem, and lose relationships with their friends and family.
When someone is being cyber-bullied, they may not be comfortable talking to others or talking about what has been going on with them, internalising their hurt
When someone is being cyber-bullied, his or her education can suffer. They cannot escape the bully. Technology ensures that we have access to people 24/7 so it can seem like there is no escape. As a result, a young person risks losing focus in class, not completing tasks and their grades dropping.
In extreme cases, cyberbullying can lead to mental illnesses such as anxiety, depression or PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder). PTSD can occur once the bullying is resolved but it can prevent social interaction and be an ongoing issue.
However, young people, you are not alone! If you are being bullied, there are ways that you can protect yourself.
Cyber bullying may feel like it is unstoppable, but there is always something you can do.
These strategies can help you to take back control and stop the bullying:
1. Block the bully so that they are unable to message you.
2. Tell a trusted adult about the bullying and keep telling people until you find someone who will act.
3. Do not open or read the messages from the cyber-bully.
4. Tell a teacher, Year Level Co-ordinator or school administrator if the bullying is school related.
5. Record the cyber bullying - take pictures or screen record the messages.
6. Do not agree to meet the bully face to face.
7. If the bully threatens to harm you or any loved ones inform your local police.
If you or somebody you know are experiencing cyberbullying - talk. Seek help. Take a stand. Make a difference.
If this article was very sensitive or raised any personal concerns, visit: https://www.beyondblue.
org.au/get-support/national-help-lines-and-websites for more information on helplines