Three Actions You Can Take to Report Cyberbullying
Cyberbullying is described as sending or posting harmful or harsh posts, texts or images using the Internet (e.g., instant messaging, e-mails, chat rooms, and social networking sites) or other digital communication devices, such as cell phones.
It is estimated that approximately 93 percent of young Americans, ages 12-17 use the internet. The rate at which cyberbullying happens has only increased with the growth of social media and young users of these tools has grown in the last decade. Six percent of students in grades 6–12 experienced cyberbullying while 16 percent of high school students in grades 9–12 were electronically bullied in the past year. Meanwhile 55 percent of LGBT students experienced cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying is the least common of the various types of bullying.
If you or your child is a victim of cyberbullying, here are three things you can do to report cyberbullying:
- Report Cyberbullying to Online Service Providers
- Contact Law Enforcement
- Contact Schools
Reporting Cyberbullying to Online Service Providers and/or Social Media Sites
Fortunately, cyberbullying is a violation of the use of most social media sites. Victims of cyberbullying can report the incident to the social media site where it occurred as well as to online service providers. Many sites describe what qualifies as appropriate and non-appropriate content. Those who experience cyberbullying on a specific site are encouraged to review the sites terms, conditions and rights sections of the site.
Contacting Law Enforcement if You or Someone in Your Family is Cyberbullied
Cyberbullying is a crime in some states and should be reported if there is a legitimate risk of crime and/or harm to another individual, local law enforcement should be contacted immediately. Other examples of when to report cyberbullying include texts or images involving child pornography, sending sexually explicit messages, violation of privacy through acts that entail taking an elicit photo or video of someone and stalking or hate crimes.
Contacting Schools if Your Child is Being Cyberbullied
If your child is being cyberbullied by another child at school, parents can report the incidents to school teachers, counselors, principals, superintendents, and/or even the state department of education. Over the last few years, schools have been encouraged incorporate cyberbullying actions into their school policies. Principals have a responsibility to ensure that their team of staff members have a good understanding of what cyberbullying entails and a full awareness of how detrimental of an impact cyberbullying can have on a students’ performance and learning experience. It the role of these officials to maintain some form of a protocol or method for reporting cyberbullying. In fact, many states require schools to address cyberbullying in their anti-bullying policies. Although schools cannot necessarily police cyberbullying they can collaborate with local police departments and parents/guardians for resolution.
More Immediate Steps You Can Take if You or Someone in Your Family is Cyberbullied
There are a few other immediate steps that one might take against cyberbullies including:
- Keep evidence of cyberbullying. Recent reports indicate that there are now anonymous platforms out there that not only allow bullies to post notes but it also aids in the removal of the bullying text or image so that it makes it difficult for law enforcement to track the incident.
- Do not respond to cyberbully messages
- Identify privacy apps and/or resources to block cyberbullies
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