Sadly, bullying has been a part of the educational landscape for years. The avenues by which such behaviors occur have changed, but dealing with the behavior remains, at its core, essentially the same. Here are some basic tips to help kids deal with bullying in their digital lives.
STOP Never respond to the bully. No comments, no reactions, no replies. The bully wants to control your behavior - when you respond, you give them the control they seek. When you react, you lose and the bully wins.
BLOCK Use the tools in the digital environment to block or hide the bully, the comments, or the behaviors. Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, SnapChat, and other social media outlets all have methods built-in to help block or remove the unwanted posts.
TELL Younger kids should tell a trusted adult, a teacher, etc., about the behavior and the posts. Older students can use online reporting features and Contact Us forms on the websites to report the inappropriate posts or behaviors and request they be removed. Many don’t realize that bullying via text message can be reported to cellular carriers, who can suspend the bully’s access to their network. In extreme cases, local law enforcement can get involved. Bullies often don’t understand that, because digital bullying can often be viewed anywhere in the world, cyberbullying can sometimes be considered a felony!
Resources on Cyberbullying
- Stay Connected, Stay Informed, from the Illinois Attorney General’s office
- Tips to Help Stop Cyberbullying, from Connect Safely
- Cyberbullying, from StopBullying.gov