We all know what bullying at school looks like, but what happens when bullies follow you home and into your own space through the internet? Online bullying happens over devices like mobile phones, computers, and tablets. Bullies might use texts, apps, social media sites, forums, or games.
If you’re being bullied online, this article will help you understand what that means and what you can do about it.
Is online bullying really a problem?
Yes, absolutely. It’s hard to get numbers on how many students experience online bullying because it happens out of school time and often goes unreported, but a 2016 survey showed three out of five women in their late teens have experienced cyber bullying. 14% of teachers have online bullying incidents reported to them at least once a week.
What is online bullying?
Most online bullying involves other people sending, posting, or sharing negative or false content about you online. It often involves sharing personal or private information about you with the goal of inciting others to bully or humiliate you.
Bullies use social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to share images or comments and incite others to join in the bullying. Many teens are also bullied over text messages on their phones, or over messaging services in social media or gaming platforms. You may go to school with your bullies, or they may be people from anywhere in the world who you don’t know in person.
Other cyberbullying methods include impersonating you or other people online, manipulating images to show false things about you, and sending abusive texts and emails.
Cyberbullying leaves you feeling humiliated, vulnerable, and lonely. Because the bullying follows you everywhere via your devices, it’s hard to escape and feel safe. If bullying posts go viral, you could find yourself being attacked by thousands of people. Personal information shared online by bullies can place you in dangerous situations or harm your ability to get a job or gain entry to university.
What can I do if I’m being bullied online?
If you or someone you know is experiencing online bullying, you should take these steps:
Keep yourself safe online
If you’re bullied or targeted online, it’s not your fault! However, you can take precautions to help limit the problem and ensure you aren’t as easy a target for scams, by: