Digital Literacy

Cyberbullying: What to Do and Not to Do

Step 1: Why It's Important to Discuss Cyber Bullying

I know everyone has had at least one talk about cyber bullying. This is because we live in a cyber charged era. Nearly everyone in the United States has access to the internet. Count that in with access to cell phones, laptops, touch pads, and you have nearly 24/7 usage of the internet. Because of this rise in constant technology usage, it is no surprise that cyberbullying has increased as well.
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Step 2: Effects of Cyberbullying

This kind of access comes with responsibility. Unlike physical bullying (which is equally as bad) cyberbullying takes a form of its own because it has longer lasting effect. Embarrassing videos, comments, photos of an individual can circulate for years and beyond. There is a quote from the movie 'The Social Network' that sums up the internet perfectly, "The Internet's not written in pencil, it's written in ink." With that said, posting hurtful/harmful media on the Internet can mean a lifetime of hurt. Especially since it is difficult to remove items from social media once posted.

Below is just one of the examples of what happens when cyber bullying becomes inescapable.

Bullying Tragedy: Amanda Todd's Nightmare

Step 3: Cyberbullying is a Criminal Offense

It may not seem like a big deal. A mean comment here, an embarrassing photo there. But over time cyber bullying (as you saw in the video above) can result in serious consequences. To acknowledge the severity of cyber bullying, most states in the U.S have enforced laws allowing individuals to take bullies to court and, in some cases, to jail. If the loss of a person's life does not persuade you to act differently, then I ask you this: Is it worth going to jail?

Below is a link that tells you what the level of action is taken when cyberbullying occurs. It is separated by states (since this crime depends on what charges the state will enact).

Step 4: Be Cautious and Take Action

Standing up to a bully is more than difficult. If it were easy, perhaps there would not be so many cases of it. Sadly, we live in a time where people can easily pick on someone behind a screen. This makes it hard to pin point who and where the bullying started. This is why it is important, as a person who is being bullied or a witness of bullying, to take action immediately. The quicker the act is recognized and reported, the quicker help for a victim can be issued. Scroll down and watch this video that sums up what an individual should do when witnessing or being victimized by a cyberbully.
Cyber Bullying : Create No Hate

Step 5: Remember, You Have the Power

Now that you have gone through the steps, I hope that you practice this responsibility with seriousness. Peoples' lives are at stake and it is your responsibility to ensure their safety. Work together as a community to help better your surroundings. Remember, you don't have to be a super hero to help another human being.
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