Article by Sannah Malik

With access to smartphones, the internet, and the majority of children/teenagers utilsing social media’, cyberbullying is a growing public concern. Cyberbullying can be defined as an intentional aggressive act to inflict psychological harm on another individual, repeatedly, through digital technologies and online mediums (Hinduja & Patchin, 2014). Victims of cyberbullying may experience a range of emotions, including fear, depression, loss of self esteem, and in serious cases can cause someone to have suicidal thoughts.

Cyberbullying can take forms, including:
Making mean/hurtful comments to someone online, including if done anonymouslyCreating a website or social media group to make fun of someone elseEditing photos to make them more embarrassing, and sharing them online.Pretending to be someone else online, and saying hurtful or embarrassing things as that personSharing private texts, messages, and photos of someone else without their permission.

How to deal with cyberbullying?
If you are being cyber-bullied, instead of responding to the individual its important to take control of the situation. Save or screenshot the messages/inappropriate pictures or videos. If possible, report the abuse on social media or online site. Tell someone you trust about that’s happening, this may include a close friends, teachers or parents. You may need to report cyberbullying to school officials and/or police.
If this happens, you should be ready to answer the following questions:
-What exactly was said? -What type of technology was used?-How often has the threat occurred?-Do you know who is responsible for the threats? (Do you know who exactly? Do you have a clue?)
If you know someone who is being cyber bullied, speak up and encourage them to seek help from a trusted adult.