Myspace, bebo, Facebook, Tagged and MSN are great ways to chat, stay in touch with friends and family and meet new people from around the world. However, the internet can also be used as a way to bully someone -this is known as cyber-bullying. Cyber-bullying includes spreading rumours online, online teasing and sending nasty or threatening messages.
Lauren couldn’t wait to get home from school and check her bebo page. It was her 15th birthday and she wanted to get online and read all her messages from friends.
When Lauren got home and logged on to her bebo page, there was one message that she hadn’t been expecting… Maddi, someone I thought was a friend, sent me a pretty horrible message, saying nasty stuff about me and things that I had supposedly done. I was shocked and angry, I couldn’t understand why she did this to me. But the cyber-bullying continued. Maddi sent messages to my friends telling them that I had said nasty things about them -which wasn’t true!
Lauren tried to talk to her friends, but some sided with Maddi. “They ignored me at school and I started getting heaps of emails and comments on my bebo page that were really nasty and threatening – for a while I was scared to go to school even though I’d done nothing wrong! It was a nightmare!”
Eventually, the bullying did end for Lauren. Her best friends supported her and she told her parents and her school about what was happening. They all worked together to stop the bullying.
Lauren also reported the bullying to bebo and she now has a new page that is set to private.
For more info on Cyber-Bullying:
www.acma.gov.au Australian Communications and Media Authority
www.bullyingnoway.com.au Australia wide school site on anti-bullying
www.cybersmartkids.com.au Info on fun, safe and smart net-surfing
www.wiredsafety.org Lots of great info on staying safe online
If it happens to you
- Tell someone! Your friends, family, a counsellor and your school.
- Don’t respond to any bullying messages.
- Keep a record of the messages to help work out who is sending them.
- If you feel threatened or unsafe, report the bullying to the police.
- If you experience cyber bullying, use the privacy features and block unwanted contacts.
- Report to the service provider.
Stats on Bullying
- 42% of teens have been bullied online.
- 25% have been cyber-bullied more than once.
- 35% have been threatened.
- 21% have received mean or threatening emails or other messages.
- 58% have had someone say mean or hurtful things to them online.
(2006 I–Safe.org survey as Cited in Wikipedia)
“Always think about the effects your words can have on someone before pressing send.”