Cyberbullying Prevention Tips (2021): What Students & Parents Need to Know

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Cyberbullying Prevention Tips (2021): What Students & Parents Need to Know

September 23, 2021

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What is cyberbullying and what is the impact it can have on students?

  • Cyberbullying is the repeated and intentional harm towards someone online, on social media or through texting
  • Typically, drama starts at school and kids bring it to the computer
  • Parents should look at the bigger picture and the history of the online situation because often kids have been engaging in online attacks prior to reporting being bullied
  • Kids can protect themselves from cyberbullying by being good digital citizens
  • In the past, bullied children used to get a break from bullying. Now, students can receive mean messages at anytime
  • The ability to be anonymous on social media can make people act out. Some people will write things online that they would never say in person to someone’s face
  • Bullied students often experience a combination of physical, verbal, and cyberbullying
  • With students having constant access to mobile devices, cyberbullying and bullying are intertwined
  • Students who are at risk of being bullied offline are at risk of being bullied online

3 main types of bullying

  1. Verbal: Teasing, name-calling, putting someone down, threatening to cause harm, saying inappropriate sexual comments
  2. Social: Not including someone on purpose, telling other students not to be friends with someone, spreading rumors, embarrassing others in public
  3. Physical: Hitting, kicking, punching, spitting, pushing, shoving, tripping, taking or breaking someone’s things, making mean or rude hand gestures

What we'll cover in this course

  • Bullying prevention tips
  • How to be a supportive bystander
  • What to do if you are being bullied
  • What to do if you're feeling left out of your circle of friends at school or online

Login or join theSmartSocial.com membership to read more about the dangers and safety tips for cyberbullying.

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Table of Contents

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What is bullying?


Why bullying is not okay

  • Hurting others will not make you feel better
  • Being a bully makes a person feel worse because a person who bullies others can’t really be proud of who they are

3 main types of bullying

  1. Verbal: Teasing, name-calling, putting someone down, threatening to cause harm, saying inappropriate sexual comments
  2. Social: Not including someone on purpose, telling other students not to be friends with someone, spreading rumors, embarrassing others in public
  3. Physical: Hitting, kicking, punching, spitting, pushing, shoving, tripping, taking or breaking someone’s things, making mean or rude hand gestures

Reasons people bully others

  • Loneliness
  • Having problems they don’t know how to fix
  • Jealousy
  • They confuse being a leader with being a bully
  • Anger
  • Trying to fit in
  • They’re bullied at home or somewhere else
  • Want more attention
  • Bullying is normal behavior at home
  • Unaware they are being hurtful
  • Lacking confidence

Who can be a bully?

  • Bullies aren’t all tough looking. They can be male or female, kids or adults. Anyone can bully–even you
  • It’s not uncommon for students to cycle through being the bully, victim, and bystander, all within a short period of time
  • Don’t assume based on one incident that a child is always a victim or always a bully

How to tell if someone is teasing or bullying

  • Teasing is done without trying to hurt the other person
  • Usually, teasing happens between friends and family
  • The person being teased and the person teasing can easily swap roles
  • If someone is teasing you and you don’t like it, the teaser will be able to tell by your body language and your expression and would stop. If someone is bullying you, they won’t stop

Signs that a student is being bullied

  • They show signs of anxiety when they go to class or receive a message on their phone
  • Withdrawn from family and friends
  • Anger or aggression towards others
  • They display signs of depression
  • They give excuses not to go to class
  • They spend less or no time doing activities they once loved

What is cyberbullying and what is the impact it can have on students?

  • Cyberbullying is the repeated and intentional harm towards someone online, on social media or through texting
  • Typically, drama starts at school and kids bring it to the computer
  • Parents should look at the bigger picture and the history of the online situation because often kids have been engaging in online attacks prior to reporting being bullied
  • Kids can protect themselves from cyberbullying by being good digital citizens
  • In the past, bullied children used to get a break from bullying. Now, students can receive mean messages at anytime
  • The ability to be anonymous on social media can make people act out. Some people will write things online that they would never say in person to someone’s face
  • Bullied students often experience a combination of physical, verbal, and cyberbullying
  • With students having constant access to mobile devices, cyberbullying and bullying are intertwined
  • Students who are at risk of being bullied offline are at risk of being bullied online

Types of cyberbullying

  • Harassment - threatening or embarrassing others
  • Impersonation - pretending to be someone else online
  • Photos - using photographs to hurt or humiliate others
  • Happy-slapping - filming a bullying incident and posting it online or sharing it with others
  • Participating - forwarding along a mean text or revealing photos

Bullying prevention tips

Bullying is overwhelming. Whether you are being targeted by bullies, see bullying happen, or have trouble managing your emotions, learning how to prevent bullying can help create a positive environment at school and online. Bullying prevention can help you keep your friends and siblings safe.

It can be difficult to know what to do if you're being bullied or see someone else being bullied.

Three keys to success:

  • Building a Positive Profile- Protecting your future
  • Being Safe Online- Protecting you from bad people online
  • Anti-Bullying- Protecting you from others at school (and helping you get along with friends)

These tips may help you to...

  • Be more popular
  • Get invited to events
  • To have a lot of friends
  • Not get in trouble
  • Be accepted
  • Be liked
  • Get into your dream college someday

These tips can help...

  • Your younger sibling
  • Be our ambassador and keep an eye out for them
  • Your friend’s siblings
  • Your friends
  • You

Why is it important not to bully?

  • It can make other people not  like you
  • You can lose friends
  • It can get you in trouble at school
  • How you treat others is how they will treat you back

What is a bully?

  • Someone who says or does things repeatedly to hurt others
  • Friends can tease each other back and forth, but a bully hurts someone who does not want to participate (in person or online)
  • Someone who does not respect the space or property of others

Why do people bully others?

  • Sometimes they have been bullied themselves
  • Sometimes they might feel bad about themselves
  • Sometimes they want to feel powerful and they think this is a way to get that feeling
  • Sometimes they think it’s funny (and they don’t know how it will feel)
  • Sometimes they think it makes them look cool to other people
  • But often times it makes them less popular
  • Sometimes they wish they were more like the other person
  • Sometimes they may have problems with their family and do not know how to ask for help

How to stop bullying

  • Are you treating people nicely?
  • Make sure you are not considered a bully to anyone
  • If you are sad or angry tell someone who can help you (parents, teacher or a friend)
  • Be sensitive to the differences of others (and look at their differences as a positive, so they will do the same for you)
  • Avoid being around people who bully
  • Avoid laughing when bullying is taking place
  • If you witness bullying let an adult know
  • If someone considers you a bully, ask yourself how you can turn them into a friend
  • Be a friend to someone who is being bullied
  • If someone stops bullying, give them a chance to be your friend

Types of Differences

  • Hair color and length
  • Eye color
  • Skin color
  • Nose size and shape
  • Eye size and shape
  • Ear size and shape
  • Body size and shape
  • Feet size
  • Hand size
  • Lips size and shape
  • Voices
  • Accents
  • Height
  • Weight
  • Family members
  • Clothing
  • Interests
  • Abilities
  • Allergies
  • Illnesses

Tips for being thoughtful

  • See someone who isn’t very social?
  • Smile or wave at them
  • Compliment them on something you appreciate
  • Ask them a question about a topic they might be interested in
  • Pick that person to be in your group or your team project
  • If you see someone who needs help, be the person to step up
  • Invite the new kid or a kid who is always alone at school to eat lunch with you and your friends
  • Encourage your friends to be less judgmental of others
  • Be the friend who doesn’t spread rumors, but rather compliments others
  • Did you know: When you make fun of others, friends don’t hear the rumor/insult, they will automatically connect your negative remarks to your attitude (and this will change their view of who you are)

Tips to prevent cyberbullying

  • If you share your password with a friend, it can be used to hurt your online reputation and to hurt others
  • They can post on your behalf if you ever have an argument
  • If you share online where you live, go to school, hang out or even your parents’ place of work - Bad people can easily find this information and hurt your family
  • Sharing your personal feelings with a stranger online can lead to them bullying you - Instead share your feelings in-person with a friend
  • Tell an adult about any suspicious users or comments you see online
  • Pretending to be someone else online (at home or at school) gets students in trouble when the school finds out
  • Let an adult know if you see someone pretending to be someone else
  • Always remember that  negative behavior online has consequences in real life
  • Everything you post online will change your resume on Google and will help (or hurt) your chances of getting into your dream school
  • Work with your parents to search for yourself online to know what posts can be found online

How to Shine Online

  • Talk with your parents about where you want to go to college someday
  • Think about what is positive to share online and what should stay private
  • Use social media to build an online portfolio your college can find on Google
  • Be aware that any bullying you create online can be seen by your dream school
  • Post things you would be proud to have your friends, parents, teachers, and possibly future employers see
  • Keep it positive, fun, or even helpful
  • Go through your social media profiles and delete any posts that you don’t want your dream school to see (or aren’t positive)

How to be a supportive bystander

A bystander is someone who witnesses bullying behavior. As a bystander, you can either help improve the situation or escalate it by encouraging bullying.

It can be difficult to know what to do if you see someone being bullied.

What is a bystander?

  • A bystander is someone who witnesses bullying behavior
  • Bystanders aren’t the target of bullying behavior
  • As a bystander, you can either help improve the situation or escalate it by encouraging bullying

How to tell if someone is being bullied

  • Bullying behavior is meant to be hurtful
  • Bullying is done on purpose and often happens repeatedly
  • Try to notice how the recipient feels. Being bullied feels bad and that will show in their expression or body language
  • Sometimes bullying isn’t about the words being used, it’s about how the words are being said
  • Pay attention to tone and demeanor, these can indicate if someone is trying to hurt someone else’s feelings

Examples of bullying

  • Name calling
  • Excluding others
  • Physical harassment
  • Pushing or shoving
  • Laughing at others
  • Throwing things
  • Gossiping or spreading rumors
  • Telling someone else’s secrets
  • Embarrassing someone
  • Teasing or putting someone down
  • Scaring someone
  • Impersonating others online
  • Forwarding inappropriate messages or photos
  • Liking posts that put others down

What to do if you witness someone else being bullied

  • Don’t follow or join in on bullying behavior
  • If you see bullying behavior don’t stand by; speak up or talk to a trusted adult
  • Try being a defender and stand up for the person being bullied
  • When standing up to bullying, do so in a respectful way
  • Younger students can tell the person bullying that their behavior is not okay and that if it continues they will leave
  • If the bullying continues, leave and tell an adult
  • Older students can try to reframe any insults targeted at others by turning them into compliments or finding the positive. Example: if someone insults someone else for having glasses, you can talk about how you think their glasses are cool

What to do if you are being bullied

Are you being bullied? Do you feel anxious or upset at the comments that are said to you on a regular basis by a certain person or group? Being bullied is never easy, so here are some tools, advice, and strategies for overcoming bullying behavior.

Are you being bullied?

  • Do you feel anxious or upset at the comments that are said to you on a regular basis by a certain person or group?
  • Do you feel anxious or upset just seeing a certain person or group?
  • Is someone making you feel bad about yourself on a regular basis?
  • Are you the target of someone’s jokes and you are not laughing?
  • Is someone making physical contact with you that is uncomfortable?
  • Is someone still doing things you don’t like even after you have told them to stop?

How to avoid being bullied

  • Having a game plan in mind can give you enough confidence to go to school
  • Remember when and where the bullying takes place most of the time and avoid going there alone
  • Stay close to your supportive friends
  • Challenging or embarrassing a bully can make the situation worse
  • Let an adult know early on what is happening so they can look out for you and help to stop it
  • It may not seem fair for you to make all these changes but it is most important that you are safe

How to feel good about yourself

  • Have a positive conversation with yourself for when situations get difficult  
  • E.g. “It doesn’t matter what they say, I know it isn’t true.”
  • Remember all the things you are good at
  • Remember that it is not your fault for being bullied

How to respond to being bullied

  • Replying, “So?” to bullying is a way of letting them know it doesn’t bother you and that you feel good about yourself
  • Bullies want you to be upset, not positive
  • Challenging a bully with negative responses or behavior will only make the situation worse
  • Ignoring the bullying behavior can be effective
  • However, ignoring is only good for teasing once in a while - NOT ongoing bullying
  • Move away to join other students whenever possible
  • Look busy by paying attention to other things
  • Even if you ignore bullying, report what happened to an adult once you have reached a safe place
  • Laughing at yourself and not taking yourself too seriously will have people laughing with you more than at you
  • Bullying a bully makes you a bully. Even if you feel strong and confident enough to get back at someone you always want to stay on the side of doing the right thing

How not to respond to being bullied

  • Challenging a bully directly can cause a fight or might increase the amount of bullying
  • Embarrassing a bully, such as teasing or posting an embarrassing photo may cause the bully to treat you even worse or show violence towards you
  • Bullying the bully can get you in trouble with the school
  • Being bullied does not give you the green light to do the same towards them
  • Always be on the positive side of a negative situation
  • When it doubt, tell an adult

How to stick up for yourself

  • Sticking up for yourself is not the same as getting back at someone else
  • Acting bossy, stuck-up, or rude will only make it worse
  • Be considerate, sticking up for yourself doesn’t mean saying or doing mean things as well
  • Let the person know that you are not okay with being bullied
  • When you respond, do it in a way that isn’t hurtful and doesn’t start a fight
  • When sticking up for yourself, stay away from language or actions that could get you in trouble or create more problems
  • Know exactly what actions you want the bully to stop
  • Speak with confidence, honesty, and respect for others, even the bully
  • Try to talk to the bully alone. They are more likely to pay attention and hear you when there’s not an audience

What to do if ignoring or speaking up doesn’t work

  • Being bullied is not your fault
  • Ask a parent or trusted adult for help. Have a discussion about what you have tried so far and come up with a new plan you are both comfortable with

The difference between telling and tattling

  • Telling is letting someone know that there is behavior hurting you or someone else
  • Tattling is when you’re trying to make someone look bad or get them into trouble

Asking for help

  • Asking for help does not mean you’re weak or helpless
  • Asking for help my also help others
  • Reach out to your parents, teachers, relatives, or other trusted adults
  • No one can help you if they don’t know what’s going on

Asking your parents for help

  • Parents can be very helpful and offer advice and they probably have a couple of stories to share about when they were bullied
  • Give your parents all of the details
  • Tell your parents in a way that makes you feel most comfortable. Here are some options:
  • Find a time that works for everyone and have a sit down conversation with them
  • Write a letter explaining your feelings (this might help you when you present it to someone)
  • If your parents don’t have advice right away, continue talking to them about the issue but give them a few days. They may need time to work out the best solution for you
  • If you feel like your parents don’t understand, don’t lose hope; sometimes it takes more than one conversation

Benefits of telling your parents

  • Parents can work with your school to stop bullying
  • Sometimes schools are more open to hearing from parents than students
  • Parents can help you find anti bullying resources in your community
  • Parents can help you find more friends outside of school
  • Your parents can offer excellent support through this difficult time

What to do if your parents are not able to help

  • Find another trusted adult to talk with
  • Make a list of your top 5 most trustworthy adults in your life. They can be relatives, neighbors, teachers, coaches, etc…
  • Reach out to the first person on your list and if they can’t offer help reach out to the next person on your list
  • Keep trying. It will get better, especially the more you reach out for help

Asking your teachers for help

  • Teachers really can make things better. Letting them know what is happening will make them more aware so they can help stop the bullying
  • If they don’t know about it, they cannot help
  • Find a teacher you feel safe with and ask to speak to them privately about the issue you are having
  • Approach your teacher after class, during lunch, or during free time

Benefits of telling teachers

  • Sometimes, getting your teacher’s support is the best solution to bullying
  • Teachers can help you find out what your school’s bullying policy is
  • Teachers can keep an eye on bullying behavior and step in when they see it happening
  • Teachers can tell other teachers and school administrators to help come up with a solution
  • If you are not comfortable telling your parents, a teacher can explain the issue to them
  • It can be comforting to have a teacher’s support at school

What if my teacher doesn’t help?

  • Keep trying
  • Keep asking for help until you find the right teacher or school administrator to help you
  • Have your parent contact the school and set up a meeting
  • Most schools have policies for reporting bullying on their website
  • Find your school’s bullying policy and get your parents and teacher to meet and discuss a solution

Are you being bullied by an adult?

  • Anyone can be a bully, even adults
  • It can be an uncle, aunt, family friend, or even a parent
  • Sometimes they see this as friendly teasing and are not aware that it is hurting your feelings

How to handle being bullied by an adult

  • Being bullied by an adult can be especially painful and confusing
  • Try telling them politely, “I know you don’t mean to, but you’re really hurting my feelings and I don’t like it. Please stop.”
  • If the bullying continues, you need to tell another trusted adult immediately and work with them to figure out the best way to handle the situation
  • Remember, you don’t deserve to be bullied by anyone

What to do if you're feeling left out of your circle of friends at school or online

Are you feeling left out?

  • Friendships can change a lot during school breaks and after graduations
  • New grades and new schools bring new people
  • Sometimes old friends find new friends and you’re no longer part of the group
  • Sometimes new people join your group and change the direction of the friendships, interests, and activities you’re not ready for or interested in
  • Getting along with everyone all the time isn’t easy. There will always be people who challenge you even within your own group  of friends
  • Changing who you are to fit in won’t make it better especially if they are doing things you don’t want to do
  • You can’t be happy if you’re pretending to act like someone else (or be like someone else) just to fit in
  • Find a friend or new group of friends who share your interests where you can be yourself
  • Slowly move away from the friends you no longer want to hang out with
  • Keep those friendships at a distance and avoid an argument or fight
  • You can make the choice to move on without them

Strategies for feeling left out

  • Focus on what makes you strong and special,  not the things or people who knock you down
  • It’s hard to focus when you’re feeling left out, but put all of your energy into the areas where you want to succeed
  • When school is stressful, your home can be a place to recharge. Plan fun things during your free time to help you relax

How to stay strong at school

  • Looking confident even if you don’t feel confident will help you feel more confident
  • Letting the person who is bullying know they’ve gotten to you will only make them want to bully you more
  • If your confidence starts to fade, step away from the situation and give yourself a pep talk
  • Turn to your friends or favorite teacher for encouragement
  • Feeling angry is natural, just be careful not to act out while you’re angry
  • Lashing out or striking back can only make it worse
  • Whenever you feel upset, take deep breaths. Breathe in confidence and breathe out stress
  • If you think a bully is likely to bother you, try to have a friend or two with you so you won’t be approached
  • Find a trusted adult who can listen. If you don’t have someone you can reach out to at school, write your feelings down so that you can talk to someone at home

Repeat these statements to yourself throughout the day whenever you need a pep talk

  • There is nothing wrong with me
  • I am perfect just the way I am
  • Their negative words have nothing to do with who I am

More cyberbullying resources

Conclusion

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