Regardless of why it started, if you are engaging in cyberbullying, you need to stop and take steps to rectify the situation.
According to bullying prevention expert and author, Sherri Gordon, targets of youth cyberbullying may engage in self-harm and are at increase risk of suicide. Research shows cyberbullying can lead to higher levels of depression, sadness, powerlessness, and hopelessness.
If you are a youth engaging in cyberbullying:
- Realize that you are not a bully, but you are engaging in bullying behavior. You can stop. You can change your behavior.
- Even if you use alias accounts, your electronic footprint leads to your door. It may take time, but you will get caught and face legal or other ramifications.
- If you’re having difficulties stopping, speak to someone you trust to get the help you need.
- Get a prevention app, like ReThink Words that effectively detects and stops cyberbullying and online hate before the damage is done.
- If the situation has escalated, and you are experiencing cyberbullying in return. Stop engaging in cyberbullying. Do not retaliate any further. Continuing to retaliate doesn’t help.
- Speak to an adult — parent, relative, teacher, guidance counselor, coach, clergy, activity leader, etc.
- If you posted harmful or defamatory content, it should be removed.
Cyberbullying Resources and Help Lines
- Lifeline Crisis Chat (Online)
- 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
- For the deaf and hard of hearing: 1-800-799-4889
Cyberbullying can be particularly damaging. It can cause anxiety, fear, depression, low self-esteem, behavioral issues, and academic struggles. Targets of online abuse may begin to doubt their worth and value. They may engage in self-harm and are at increase risk of suicide.
For youth who may see cyberbullying, learn how you can be more than a bystander, by becoming an upstander.