Cyber-bullying Awareness Month

Anita Mikeska, Staff Writer

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When walking down the halls of Bethel High School, it isn’t hard to hear the gossip that goes around. Students tend to allow their thoughts to escape their mouths without taking into consideration other student’s emotions. When the other person shows signs or hints at being hurt, they say that it’s “just a joke” and to “stop taking everything so seriously.” This doesn’t just happen in school, it happens online too, and it is called cyber bullying.

Cyber-bullying is “the use of electronic communication to bully a person, typically by sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature.” It isn’t only through messages though, it can be anything from posting hateful things towards other people, spreading rumors online, through texts, or saying disrespectful things in the comment section of someone’s picture.

The question is: why is cyber-bullying so popular? Many wonder why do not only adults, but teens do it. What are the effects of cyber-bullying, and most importantly, what can we do to stop this from happening?

 

Why do teens cyberbully?

Huffington Post says, “It’s often easy to hide behind a quick text, snap, post or tweet.” It is easier to cyberbully because the individual is not in front of the person they are bullying and they are less likely to get caught performing wrong deeds. Teens also do this because they may be feeling angry or upset. This is an outlet for them to let out their emotions. Most kids won’t speak up when being cyber-bullied because they are either embarrassed or afraid of the outcome, or that the situation is going to worsen between them and their bully.

 

Why is cyber bullying so popular?

Cyber-bullying is very common lately because kids have easy access to social media and to the internet. Endcyberbullying.net says, “Many middle school and high schoolers cyberbully because they think it is funny, or that they see it as a way to stay popular because their other friends think it is funny.” Many people today are just looking to fit in and make friends, and don’t know how to speak up when they are put in the difficult choice of popularity or doing the right thing, without thinking twice of the effects it may have on other people.

 

What are the effects of cyber-bullying?

Cyber-bullying can have many reactions among people. The most common outcomes are anxiety, fear, and low self-esteem. In more severe cases, cyber-bullying, or bullying in general, has led to self harm and even suicide. This can result in everlasting grief that the friends and family have to cope with for the rest of their lives.

 

How can we prevent cyber-bullying?

To prevent cyber-bullying from happening, we simply just need to be mindful of what we say and what we do online, tell teachers or authority figures if we know someone is being bullied, and most importantly, stand up for other students who are experiencing this and who may not feel comfortable standing up for themselves.

 

Being bullied can be a very traumatic experience, the things that you say and do can impact how people think about themselves and how they live their lives. Always remember the Golden Rule: treat others how you want to be treated.