Everything you need to know about cyberbullying and how to deal with it.
Social media plays a massive part in our day-to-day lives. It’s a great tool for keeping in touch with our friends, following celebrities and scrolling through videos from our favourite content creators, especially during lockdown. But it can also be a gateway for bullies to invade your life in order to target you in a nasty way.
What Counts As Cyberbullying?
There are many ways in which someone can bully you online, but these are the most common:
- Using your images without your permission.
- Setting up an account posing as you.
- Sending upsetting messages.
- Sharing private details about you.
- Harassing you on public forums or in private messages.
- Spreading rumours about you.
- Posting humiliating or upsetting content about you.
If your situation isn’t on this list but you are feeling intimidated or upset by the way someone is acting towards you online, then you are still experiencing cyberbullying. It can feel frightening and isolating, but there are steps you can take to get help and support to find a way to put a stop to it.
What Is Grooming?
Grooming is when someone tries to get close to you in order to manipulate you into doing what they want. This could be in the form of an adult posing as a teenager and striking up a friendship with you for inappropriate purposes. It could also be a stranger or someone you know pretending to be someone else in order to manipulate or exploit you in some way.
It can sometimes be incredibly difficult to recognise if you’re being groomed. A groomer can try to isolate you from your friends and family, ask you to keep your relationship with them a secret, or try to intimidate or pressure you into sharing private information and images.
How To Deal With Cyberbullying
Firstly, stop all communications with the perpetrator and tell an adult you trust, whether that’s a parent, family member or teacher. You’ll feel instantly better when you unburden your worries. The next step is to take screenshots or photos of any messages or posts and to write down everything that’s happened as you may need these as proof.
Once you have all your evidence documented, block and report the person. You can find detailed information here: https://www.nationalbullyinghelpline.co.uk/social-media.html on how to block people across the most popular social media channels.
If the bully attends your school, your parent or trusted adult can raise the issue with the school and work with them to put steps in place to keep you safe. The bullying may be reported to the police in some cases, depending on the seriousness of the situation. Whatever happens, know that you are no longer alone in your fight against cyberbullying and will have support every step of the way.
If you see bullying happening online, try to help. If you’re worried about speaking up, you can report the person anonymously or tell an adult about what you’ve seen. Try to think how you would feel if you were the person who was being bullied and always be as kind with your words online as you would in ‘real-life’.
If you suspect that you, or someone you know, is being groomed, you must talk to a trusted adult immediately. You can learn more about grooming and the signs of grooming here: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/what-is-child-abuse/types-of-abuse/grooming/#what-is. If you’d rather talk to someone anonymously, you can speak to a trained counsellor at Childline on 0800 11 11.
For more information on cyberbullying: https://www.bullying.co.uk/cyberbullying/what-is-cyberbullying/
For more information on bullying: https://ionpadel.com/for-me/bullying/how-do-i-stop-the-bullying/