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The PLEA: Cyberbullying

The PLEA: Cyberbullying

What can I do if I'm Cyberbullied?

Often the bully or cyberbully’s goal is to get a reaction. They want a reaction from you, and a reaction from others. When bullying or cyberbullying happens, walk away or leave the online conversation. You may want to block the person, too.

Report

For bullying to be stopped, it needs to be reported. Social media websites allow you to report and block cyberbullies. Evidence is key when reporting. Collect facts. Save messages. Take screenshots.

Reach Out

Reach out to someone you trust. This could be a parent, a family member, a counsellor, a teacher, an elder, or a police officer. If you are in immediate danger—for example, receiving threats or are being exploited sexually—contact someone you trust or emergency services as soon as possible. Contact information for some emergency services are listed on the back page.

When should you talk to someone?

If you have concerns about how you are being treated online, it’s a good idea to talk to someone you trust.

This is especially true if:

  • you fear for your safety
  • your mental health is suffering
  • you may potentially harm yourself or others
  • you have feelings of despair
  • you are otherwise scared

When confronting a person who is cyberbullying, create a plan. Ensure that all the important facts are collected. Develop a step-by-step program for how that person will be approached.

Remember: A trusted adult can give you guidance on how to approach a person bullying or cyberbullying.

What Can I Do if Someone Else is Being Cyberbullied?

If someone is being cyberbullied, be supportive! Let them know you are there for them. They don’t have to deal with this alone. To help, you can:

  • express disapproval of the bullying
  • encourage them to talk to a trusted adult
  • check up on them
  • let the victim know it isn’t their fault
  • ask the person doing the bullying to stop, if it is safe to do so
  • remember that retaliation is not the answer

Generally, if your friend asks you not to tell anyone, check with them before talking to somebody else about the problem. They trusted you, and they might not feel comfortable involving anyone else.

However, do not hesitate to talk to a trusted adult if you think someone’s safety or well-being is at risk. This includes such situations as when threats are being made, or intimate images are being shared.

If you are unsure, it is always best to talk to a trusted adult.

Bystander Effect

Students who witness others being bullied often feel:

  • afraid for their own safety
  • powerless and powerless to act
  • guilty or ashamed for not intervening
  • tempted to participate
  • someone else may step up to help so they don’t get involved

“Remaining silent could be misinterpreted as approval by both the person cyberbullying and the victim.... Don’t wait, and don’t tell yourself it’s none of your business. You don’t want to be looking back on this moment years from now, wishing you’d done or said something.”

- Canada Public Safety

Chat!

Have you ever blocked or reported someone online? Have you ever discussed an incident of cyberbullying with a trusted adult? How did it go? What did you learn? What advice would you give to others?

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