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Huffman Independent School District

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Cyberbullying

Teen on phone being cyber bullied

DEFINITION
According to StopBullying.gov, cyberbullying is bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets. Cyberbullying can occur through SMS, Text, and apps, or online in social media, forums, or gaming where people can view, participate in, or share content. Cyberbullying includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else. It can include sharing personal or private information about someone else causing embarrassment or humiliation. Some cyberbullying crosses the line into unlawful or criminal behavior.

According to a recent survey, more than one-third of U.S. teens say they have been cyberbullied or know someone who has. Cyberbullying can lead to low self-esteem and other negative emotional responses. Victims may feel scared, frustrated, humiliated, angry, and even depressed. They may become isolated, withdrawn, jumpy, or nervous when receiving a text or instant message, and may even stop going to school. There have been several reported cases in which cyberbullying victims have committed suicide.

Both boys and girls sometimes bully online, and just as in face-to-face bullying, tend to do so in different ways. Boys more commonly bully by sending messages of a sexual nature or by threatening to fight or hurt someone. Girls more often bully by spreading rumors and by sending messages that make fun of someone or exclude others. They also tell secrets. Both victims and perpetrators of cyberbullying are twice as likely to be girls.

The most common places where cyberbullying occurs are:

  • Social Media, such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Tik Tok
  • Text messaging and messaging apps on mobile or tablet devices
  • Instant messaging, direct messaging, and online chatting over the internet
  • Online forums, chat rooms, and message boards, such as Reddit
  • Email
  • Online gaming communities

Examples of Cyberbullying:

  • Sending someone mean or threatening emails, instant messages, or text messages
  • Excluding someone from an instant messenger buddy list or blocking their email for no reason
  • Tricking someone into revealing personal or embarrassing information and sending it to others
  • Breaking into someone's email or instant message account to send cruel or untrue messages while posing as that person
  • Creating websites to make fun of another person such as a classmate or teacher
  • Using websites to rate peers as prettiest, ugliest, etc.

Signs that a child may be a victim of cyberbullying include:

  • Avoiding the computer, cellphone, and other technological devices or appearing stressed when receiving an e-mail, instant message, or text
  • Withdrawing from family and friends or acting reluctant to attend school and social events.
  • Avoiding conversations about computer use
  • Exhibiting signs of low self-esteem including depression and/or fear
  • Has declining grades.
  • Has poor eating or sleeping habits