By Zoey Jones
Cyber-bullying is becoming more and more of a problem in today’s schools. Technology such as text messaging (texting), camera cell phones along with instant internet access are all making it easier and easier to hurt people without ever laying a finger on them.
But cyber-bullying is changing with the times too. There is a horrible new trend in cyber-bullying, which involves videotaping somebody getting beat up in order to post it on the internet. This kind of abuse seems to doubly affect the victim because not only do they get physically assaulted, the humiliation goes on and on when the videos are posted on the internet for everybody to see. This way the cycle of abuse continues long past the initial attack.
Victims can feel helpless when being bullied and so can the people watching the bullying. There are a lot of things that can be done to help people who are being bullied and I learned the hard way that sometimes you have to stand up for what you believe in to see results. I was afraid of reporting what I witnessed in order to stop the bullying but it was because I was scared that something would happen to me. I remember trying to help somebody out three years ago when I ended up on the receiving end of the bullying. That’s not somewhere I wanted to go again. Abuse like that is both physically and emotionally destructive.
It takes a lot of guts to take action when you witness bullying and it helps to know what the best options are. Believe it or not the best thing you can do if you are a witness to bullying is to tell somebody. Talk to a guidance counsellor, a coach, a teacher, a parent, anybody who has enough authority to do something about it.
Support the person who is being bullied. A lot of the time what the person who is being bullied needs is a friend. Don’t be afraid to offer to walk the person home, sit with them on the bus, or join them for lunch. These may seem like small acts to you but simply giving the person a friend to talk to when they need it most can give them the confidence they need to stand up to the people who are bullying them.
Refuse to join in on the bullying. You may have peer pressure from your friends or other people to join in on teasing or bullying and a lot of kids will just go along with it because they don’t want to become the victim. Sometimes all it takes is one person to stand up and make change.
Stand up to the bully. It might seem like a scary thing to do but by taking a stand you can help the bully realize that their actions are not cool. Remember, there is strength in numbers so if you can find a friend to get your back in confronting a bully it can make the situation a bit easier.
Cyber bullying is a fairly new trend and it’s growing because of the accessibility. I love technology and I’m the first to pick up a new gadget when I can afford it, but I think it’s important to remember the simple things too and unplug sometimes. We’re living in what’s called an ‘always on’ generation where we are literally, always plugged in if we want to be. Try turning off for a little while. Give your mp3 player a break and take a walk and enjoy the street sounds. When you take time to refocus your energies, you just might feel the strength to stand up for what you believe in – it helps me anyway.