Cyberbullying incidents can be a very confusing and upsetting experience for students, parents, teachers.
REMEMBER TO P-A-U-S-E
PAUSE BEFORE POSTING_ Take time to think before posting mean or hurtful comments that can really affect someone’s mental health. Never post when you are angry or after an argument.
ACT APPROPRIATELY_ Be the bigger person; if you are having an argument with someone at school and they message you, ignore them. It is never a good idea to post mean or hurtful comments on social media. It is unkind and future colleges/universities/employers can search for this kind of information.
UNDERSTAND THE IMPACT_ Young people who experience cyberbullying are at a greater risk for both self-harm and suicidal behaviours (1. John & et al, 2019). You never know how your actions/words are going to affect someone. You may think it is a ‘laugh’ or ‘banter’; however, the other person may not and this makes it bullying behaviour, not banter.
SOURCES OF SUPPORT_ A lot of bullying behaviour can happen due to hard circumstances (2. Ditch the Label, 2016). Therefore, supporting someone exhibiting bullying behaviour is very important. If you see this happen, reach out to that person and offer them support. There are plenty of organisations available for young people, including The Diana Award Crisis Messenger, which provides free, 24/7 crisis support across the UK. If you are a young person in crisis, you can text DA to 85258. Trained volunteers will listen to how you’re feeling and help you think the next step towards feeling better. You can also contact Childline on 0800 1111.
EMPOWER OTHERS_ Why not start a social action campaign or trend on social media to encourage kindness? Empower others to be upstanders within their online communities. Be the change you want to see in the world.
WHAT TO DO IF YOU ARE/SOMEONE YOU KNOW IS EXPERIENCING CYBERBULLYING BEHAVIOUR?
The Diana Award has come up with 4 easy steps:
Screenshot evidence of posts/comments that show the bullying behaviour. This means you can gather the evidence to show school or a responsible adult what is happening. However, never screenshot inappropriate photos because it is illegal to possess inappropriate photos of someone under the age of 18.
2_Report, then block
Once you have saved the evidence, report the post. Most social media platforms/apps have a feature to report a photo, video, post, status, etc. They will sometimes ask you to write down why you are reporting the content. Most of the time, it is completely anonymous to report someone and they won’t know it is you. Then, you should block them to avoid further communication with them.
Cyberbullying can make you feel powerless and isolated. Let someone know what has happened and talk it through with them. A problem shared is a problem halved. This can be a friend, family or teacher. If you fear someone is experiencing cyberbully behaviour, ask them if they want to talk about it and let them know you are there to support them. Asking ‘how are you?’ can make all the difference.
4_Do not reply
The motivations behind cyberbullying behaviour can be boredom and attention seeking (3. Scachaf & Noriko, 2010). Therefore, do not give them the attention they are craving, ignore the comment and do not reply. If you engage with the person displaying bullying behaviour, it could get worse and you could say something in the heat of the moment that you later regret.
We hope you find these top tips helpful! Remember to find us on social media and tag us in any work you are doing to prevent cyberbullying behaviour. You can find us @antibullyingpro on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.