The best course of action is education and discussion on the subject of bullying, be it 'cyber' related or traditional.
The effects of traditional bullying are often magnified when it happens online. There are some powerful stories to learn from on the subject, one of which happened locally in Chittenden County, VT.
Here are some strategies we discuss to help students understand and avoid bullying.
If someone bullies you, remember that your reaction is usually exactly what the bully wants. It gives him or her power over you. Who wants to empower a bully?
Getting back at the bully turns you into one and reinforces the bully's behavior. If you are bullied in a chat, leave the "room."
Save the evidence
The only good news about cyber bullying is that the harassing messages can usually be captured, saved, and shown to someone who can help. Save evidence even if it's minor stuff - in case things get worse.
Block the bully
If the harassment is coming in the form of instant messages, texts, or profile comments, follow these tips: Use preferences or privacy tools to block the person.
Reach out for help
You deserve backup. Of course you know there are different kinds of help, from talking with a friend to seeing if there’s a trusted adult who can help. It's usually good to involve a parent but - if you can't - a school counselor can sometimes be helpful. If you're really nervous about saying something, see if there's a way to report the incident anonymously at school. Sometimes this can result in bullies getting the help they need to change their behavior.
Use reporting tools
If the bullying took place via a social network, use that service’s reporting or “abuse” tools. The social network will likely have “social abuse-reporting” tools, which allow you to forward hurtful content to a trusted friend or directly ask someone to take offensive content down. If the abuse threatens physical harm, you may have to call the police, but think about involving a parent or trusted adult if you do.
Even if you don't like a person, it's a good idea to be decent and not sink to his or her level. Research shows that gossiping and "trash talking" others increases your risk of being bullied
Don't be a bully
You know the old saying about walking a mile in someone's shoes; even a few seconds of thinking about how another person might feel can put a big damper on aggression. That's needed in this world.
Be an upstander, not a bystanderForwarding mean messages or just standing by and doing nothing empower bullies and hurts victims even more. Stand up for your peers, or report the behavior to a trusted adult.
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