Saturday, August 31, 2013


Reviewed by: Michelle New, PhD--Kid's Health
Leigh was in eighth grade when the mean messages started. The emails, texts, and posts got worse. It was so bad that she eventually changed schools.
Leigh says she has come through the experience more self-aware and compassionate toward others. It was a terrible time, she says, but with some counseling and support from adults and friends, she was able to make sense of what happened to her.
Most people know about cyberbullying. Here are some suggestions on what to do if you, or someone you know, is involved.

What Counts as Cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is the use of technology to harass, threaten, embarrass, or target another person. Online threats, rude texts, and mean tweets, posts, or messages all count. So does posting personal information or videos designed to hurt or embarrass someone else.
Cyberbullying also includes photos, messages, or pages that don't get taken down, even after the person has been asked to do so. In other words, it's anything that gets posted online and is deliberately intended to hurt.
In some situations, cyberbullying is considered harassment.Intimidation or mean comments that focus on things like a person's gender, religion, sexual orientation, race, or physical differences fall into this category. Whether it's done in person or online, this type of meanness counts as discrimination and is against the law in many states. That means law enforcement could get involved, and bullies may face serious penalties.
Some schools or other organizations might make a distinction between bullying and harassment. That's because of legal differences and definitions. But to the person being harassed or bullied, there's no real difference — it's painful to go through, no matter what you call it.
Online bullying can be particularly damaging and upsetting because it's usually anonymous or hard to trace. People can be tormented on a 24/7 basis — anytime they check their phone or computer. Sometimes, they might not know what's being said behind their backs or where the meanness is coming from.
Online bullying and harassment can be easier to commit than other acts of bullying because the bully doesn't have to confront his or her target in person.

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