There is a 58% chance someone has said mean or hurtful things to you online at least once. Whether it’s your best friend of seven years texting you she hates you or a random stranger on the internet making fun of your singing, it sucks.
Bullying online is bullying, plain and simple. It is bullying that takes place using social media sites, text messages, chat, and websites. It is bullying that takes place through mean text messages or emails, rumors spread online about you, and embarrassing pictures or videos.
Have you watched the movie Cyberbully? It’s absolutely heartbreaking. Sadly, 43% of people have experienced incidents similar to the main character, Taylor (who—spoiler alert—meets a guy online who begins posting rumors about her on a social networking site and ends up being a fake profile created by her friend). People being bullied online are 2 to 9 times more likely to attempt suicide.
This type of bullying can happen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. It can happen any time of the day or night and unlike what most say, you can’t simply “unplug” since technology is a huge part of our society and much needed for many things. Deleting harassing messages and pictures is also not easy to do after they have been sent or posted because what is put on the internet remains on the internet forever.
I have been bullied myself. It was on a website called Ask.fm where you can anonymously ask your questions, have a conversation with someone, or tell a secret. It can also be used to express how much you don’t like a person without anyone knowing who you are. That’s what someone did to me.
It was after I broke up with the boy I was “dating” (I was twelve, none of us could drive a car, and it lasted one month). There were many questions asking me, “Why did you break up with Adam?” but there was one comment I was able to pick out from the rest.
You’re a slut, I read to myself. I didn’t know how or if I should respond. This only happens on TV, I thought. I had never seen someone call someone this in real life. I scrolled down the list and saw a couple more comments like this one. Fortunately, I chose to delete them and never think about it again—which over time, became easier to do.
We talk a lot about bullying online in HOPE Club at my school. Every single person there has either been bullied, seen bullying, or participated in bullying. We all agreed that the best ways to stop bullying online are to:
- Never open unidentified messages
- Log out of online accounts when you finish using them
- Think before you post or send anything to anyone
- Raise awareness
- Report all form of bullying
- Don’t bully yourself online or anywhere
I have gotten a couple nasty comments on Ask.fm since, but I don’t let them bother me anymore. The only thing these people are getting out of this is wasted time.