Cyberbullying is the use of online communication to intimidate, embarrass, or harass another person.
While perpetrators often claim they were “just joking,” there is real harm. A jab comment can quickly spiral for the worse as insecure preteens and teenagers jump in to attack someone. There is a false sense of safety for the bystanders who join the attacker, thinking that if the problem is directed elsewhere they are in the clear.
Passing the buck of an unhealthy culture helps nobody. Both victims and perpetrators of cyberbullying – and many people are in both camps – are often vulnerable to anxiety and depression. Often, the help will come from a third party. Bystanders can become ‘upstanders’ by taking action to stop the abuse.
Did you know?
- Clients can be cyberbullying targets, perpetrators, parents, teachers, or administrators.
- Cyberbullying has a huge effect on school climate, yet many schools do not take proactive steps to curb it.
- The roles of both bullies and targets can be explored in terms of boundaries – healthy boundaries prevent harm (to ourselves and to others).
- Many cyberbullying targets do not talk with their parents for fear of losing Internet access and/or further embarrassment.
- Cyberbullying is not limited to teenagers – preteens in middle school are affected, as well as young adults in college.
- Young people have killed themselves after being cyberbullied.