Cyberbullying refers to bullying which takes place using the internet, mobile phones or other technological devices. This may be in the form of sending nasty or threatening messages, emails or photos, videos or putting such materials up on social media web pages. It can also take the form of setting up fake profiles which say cruel things about an individual or accessing someone’s account repeatedly to make trouble for them. Cyberbullying, can be difficult to detect and address and sometimes one may not know who the bully is when they are bullied online. Many people view the internet as ‘not reality’ – and it gives the illusion of being much more anonymous – thus allowing them to behave in a more aggressive way. Given the wide cyber audience, when a message is posted online, the information can be far-reaching and instantaneous.
If you are being deliberately harassed or bullied online, it is important that you tell someone about it. You can talk to your parents or someone you trust like a teacher or a friend. It can be very upsetting to be deliberately attacked or humiliated online.
The following is a list of some helpful things you can do if this is happening to you
1. You can unfriend or block the bully from your site – whether it’s a mobile phone, social networking site or chat room. No one has to tolerate bullying from another. Online you have the power to unfriend or block people- which removes the bullies power.
2. Don’t reply. Never reply to a message – the bully only gets satisfaction when they receive a response.
3. Keep the message. This will give you a record of the messages, dates and times – which may be helpful for reporting.
4. Report Problems to your Internet Service Provider or mobile phone provider. Look for the “Report Abuse” button or contact Customer Care. If you consider the cyberbullying to be of a serious nature or potentially criminal then you should contact your local Garda office.
For further protection and to prevent the problem happening again it is important to block unwanted contacts, change your password regularly and report any abuse on the site to mobile operators or social networking providers.
For more information and tips on how you can stay safe online check out the following websites: www.webwise.ie, www.watchyourspace.ie.
If you would like to speak to a counsellor, SouthWest Counselling Centre provides affordable professional counselling to children, adolescents adults and couples – both at its Killarney Centre (Lewis Road) and at Kenmare Family Centre. To make an appointment call 064 firstname.lastname@example.org.
SouthWest Counselling Centre is a not-for-profit organization. All funds raised through fundraising go directly to service provision.