How to Beat Cyberbullies
Amy “Dolly” Everett was fourteen. She was formerly the face of Akubra, an Australian hat company, and was called by her father “a kind, gentle and loving little girl who loved her animals and cared so deeply for other people less fortunate than her.”
Dolly Everett took her own life earlier this month due to cyberbullying. She was just shy of her fifteenth birthday.
Cyberbullying is a horrific form of emotional abuse that can ravage a student’s self-perception, making them believe the poison being spewed. In their video entitled “How to Beat Cyberbullies,” @watchwellcast says: “The journal of adolescent health found that cyberbullying victims are more likely to become depressed and targets of traditional <face-to-face> bullying.” Whether you attend a traditional school, or have switched to a student-centered online school like ours, cyberbullying can still wreak havoc on a student’s emotional and physical wellbeing.
Here are some tips brought to us by @watchwellcast to help combat cyberbullying and empower victims of this horrible abuse.
Step One: Privacy is Prevention. Check all your social media sites and make sure your privacy settings are air-tight. @watchwellcast mentions to be sure to not include your phone number or personal email on any of these platforms.
Step Two: Don’t Respond and Don’t Retaliate. @watchwellcast says, “Retaliating to a cyberbully just encourages the bully, because you’re giving him what he wants.”
Step Three: Block the Bully. Today, most social media sites have options to block, unfollow, and report. Use these whenever possible to make it harder for the bully to reach you. @watchwellcast says you can also check into your privacy settings and set it up so that only friends on your contacts list can contact you.
Step Four: Save All Correspondences and Tell Someone You Trust. Did you know that cyberbullying is actually against the law on most messenger sites and services? That means reporting it is not only the right thing to do, it’s your civic duty. After all, if a cyberbully is targeting you, he or she is likely targeting someone else, too.
Of course, what none of these tips address is why a student might do none of these things, even though they may know how. Cyberbullying is an incredibly abusive form of bullying that can dramatically color and shift a student’s perception of themselves. If students being eviscerated by online trolls begin to believe there must be truth to toxic messages, it’s possible they may feel too ashamed to act upon or report it, in case someone else thinks what’s being said is true. If you suspect your child or your friend may be a victim of cyberbullying, you can anonymously report cyberbullying on cyberbullyhotline.com, or find more tips for further steps you can take on stopbullying.gov.
Cyberbullying is a horrific act of terror, but there are ways to help. Here at CMASAS, we send our deepest condolences to the family and friends of Dolly Everett, and hope this tragedy will inspire others to stand up and do what they can to stop cyberbullying.
Have you ever been a victim of cyberbullying?