Almost everyone has heard the phrase “cyberbullying”, this is intentional, repeated, aggressive behavior that is meant to cause harm to a targeted person over some kind of electronic means (like a computer or cell phone). Cyberbullying can be done over social media, texting and other internet sites. Research shows that cyberbullying has been shown experienced by a large percentage of high school and middle schoolers (some studies show 75% of people have experienced this). Cyberbullying can lead to depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, stress, and suicidal thoughts.
The truth is that children and adults experience cyberbullying and sometimes we engage in this behavior ourselves. People justify hurtful behaviors because its “on the internet” or because they are “just joking”. It is important for us to pay attention to our own behavior on the internet and on social media to figure out whether we might be the perpetrators of such behavior ourselves. Here are some more ideas for what you can do to help if you find out that someone else is being cyberbullied:
- Reach Out. Be kind to those who are treated badly or left out and help resolve conflict.
- Say “Stop.”Help those who are hurtful stop, accept personal responsibility, and remedy the harm.
- Report Concerns. Report serious concerns to someone who can help.
- Stop, Own it, and Fix It. Avoid being hurtful and if you were, stop yourself, accept responsibility, and remedy the harm.
- Demand cyberbullying policies in school. Make sure that your school/office has a policy on cyberbullying or talk to them about making this change.
Here at Exult Healthcare, we are committed to helping create a safe environment for all. If you or someone you know is looking for a safe place to get help due to cyber bullying or for your mental health needs, call us at 469-714-0006.
By Cynthia Dsauza, Ph.D., LMFT-S