How do we define bullying and cyberbullying?
Bullying is the act of making someone feel scared, left out, or bad about themselves because of how you treat them. Cyberbullying is making them feel this way using your computer or phone. Usually, bullying/cyberbullying happens over and over again.
What are some examples?
- Threatening gestures
- Mean nicknames
- Spreading hurtful rumors
- Sharing someone’s private information
- Intentionally excluding someone from a group/activity
- Intimidating, unwanted, or repeated texts/messages
- Posting negative, hurtful, embarrassing, or insulting posts about someone on a blog/social network
- Spreading false rumors
- Using someone’s account to make them look bad
- Sharing private information that is not yours to share
What can students do?
Adults can certainly step in to deal with a bully once they know about it, but bullying happens between students, so ending bullying once and for all is up to you.
Everyone deserves to feel safe and respected both in school and out. You can fight bullying by checking yourself, paying attention, and speaking up.
- Think about how you and your friends treat classmates, both online and in real life.
- Imagine what your behavior feels like on the other end.
- Ask yourself whether you’re turning a blind eye to bullying happening around you?
- Not proud of your choices? Choose to change.
Food for thought: It doesn’t feel good to treat people meanly. If you’re not being the best friend or classmate you can be, let a parent, teacher, or school counselor know how you feel. They can help you deal with the way you’ve been acting, and can help you change your behavior to something you can be proud of.
- “Are people responding positively to me?” If not, your jokes might not be as funny as you think they are.
- “Would this hurt my feelings if the roles were reversed?”
- “Am I spreading rumors that I know I shouldn’t?”
- “Am I using my size or popularity to pressure people or put them down?”
- “Is this something I’ll be proud of later in life?”
Something to keep in mind: Behaviors have consequences, even online – people have lost scholarships and job opportunities, and gotten kicked off of teams and out of school for online behavior. Don’t ruin things for yourself later by making bad decisions now.
- Learn what bullying looks like.
- Keep an eye out for classmates and neighbors who are bullying or being bullied by others
- Take a step back and consider your friends, too: is there one person in the group who’s always the butt of the joke? They may be hiding their feelings, but that probably doesn’t feel very good.
- If something isn’t right, let someone know what’s going on: a teacher, coach, counselor, principal, or parent.
- Be persistent: if the adult doesn’t get the behavior to stop, tell someone else until it does!
- Don’t go along with the crowd: If you don’t like the way your friends are acting towards others, say so. You’ll feel better about yourself if you stand up for what’s right instead of pretending you’re fine with it.