How to Identify and Handle a Cyberbully

by | Safety, Technology

Bullying is a pressing issue for children of all ages, both online and off. Bullying is a big deal; more than 70% of kids say that they have been affected by cyberbullying. Here are some tips for identifying and dealing with a cyberbully.

According to the Royal Canadian Mounted Police website, cyberbullying “involves the use of communication technologies such as the Internet, social networking sites, websites, email, text messaging and instant messaging to repeatedly intimidate or harass others.”

Cyberbullying includes:

  • Sending mean or threatening emails or text/instant messages
  • Posting embarrassing photos of someone online
  • Creating a website to make fun of others
  • Pretending to be someone by using their name
  • Tricking someone into revealing personal or embarrassing information and sending it to others

Cyberbullying affects victims differently than traditional bullying, it can follow a victim everywhere 24/7, from school, to the mall and all the way into the comfort of their home which is usually safe from traditional forms of bullying.

Related – Anti-bullying legislation in Canada 

Tips for dealing with a cyberbully:

  • Don’t respond to a cyberbully, regardless of how untrue or hurtful they things they say are. Instead, save evidence of the online interaction.
  • Report threats of physical or sexual harm to the police. In cases similar to these, legal action can be appropriate.
  • Be proactive in preventing cyberbullying. Block their email addresses, phone numbers and social media handles.
  • Continue to report all forms of online bullying.

Related – The digital influence on Canadian youth 

If you are being bullied, remember:

  • It’s not your fault. There are many different reasons for a person to become a cyberbully and they aren’t a reflection of who you are. The cyberbully is the person with the problem, not you.
  • Seek help. Talk to an adult that you trust, like a parent, teacher or counsellor. Explain what’s happening and they can help you find different ways to deal with the cyberbully.
  • Share your feelings about being bullied. Talk to someone you trust about how it makes you feel. Don’t keep your emotions inside.
  • Unplug from technology. Take a break from your computer and make time for face-to-face interaction with friends and family.