Issues and Answers About Cyberbullying

March 28th, 2016

Cyberbullying is the use of electronic communication to bully a person. This is usually done by sending mean messages or even threats to someone though a website, email, social media, phone or text message. With over 80% of teens having access to cell phones on a regular basses, it has become the most common medium and most frequent form of cyberbullying.

The prevalence of cyberbullying is vast and alarming. Studies show that 88% of social media using teens have witnessed people being mean or cruel on social media. 72% of high school students nationwide report being cyberbullied once or twice a school year. 20% of high schools have reported once or twice a month, with 5.3% reported it once or twice a week. Unfortunately, over 81% of young people think that bullying online is easier to get away with than bullying in person.

Youth that have been a victim of cyberbullying are more prone to

  • alcohol or drug abuse
  • experience bullying in person
  • skip school and get poor grades
  • lower self-esteem
  • health problems
  • thoughts of suicide

More than half of cyberbullying victims never tell their parents or an authority figure. Because social media can give the option to appear anonymously, in those cases the student being bullied may fear that there would be little to no repercussions since the perpetrator is unidentifiable. To combat this students should not respond to rude e-mails, messages, comments, and other malicious content and find ways to save the content in case it needs to be reported to the police and/or school officials. Adolescents can also text anonymously to report cyberbully or bullying of any kind to “don’t hate” at DNTH8 or 274637.

To help prevent cyberbullying locally among adolescents in the Collier County Public Schools, David Lawrence Center collaborated with National Alliance on Mental Illness, the Collier County Sheriff’s Office and the school district on the “We Care Campaign” and created this cyberbullying prevention video below that aired in March 2016 as part of a comprehensive student mental health awareness campaign targeted toward middle school and high school students. The goal of the campaign is to open the dialog about stigma, warning signs of suicide, dating violence, depression, substance abuse, anxiety and bullying as well as provide tips on how to access help and how to help someone who may be struggling.

The overall and underlying message in this We Care Campaign video is simple…if you or someone you know is experiencing cyberbullying or any other issue that may be effecting their wellbeing, tell someone. Any of our We Care partner agencies can help. Call David Lawrence Center at 239-455-8500 and we can help guide you to the help, resources and information you need.

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