This page was originally created by Ryan J., Leo R., and Melodie X. 2021-2022
Cyberbullying Prevention is the active act of interfering, preventing, and moderating acts of Cyberbullying. This act often comes in many steps including identifying signs, understanding the situation, providing support, seeking out help and reporting the situation.
According to, cyberbullying is defined as "bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets". Cyberbullying comes in various levels of seriousness. Cyberbullying can vary in severity from insults to death threats in an online environment. Cyberbullying comes in many forms. Posting comments online about someone that are mean, hurtful, or embarrassing, posting a mean or hurtful picture or video, and creating false rumours about someone are all examples of cyberbullying. Currently, cyberbullying is more prevalent in our society than traditional cyberbullying is. A survey done by the University of British Columbia showed that around twenty-five to thirty percent of youth surveyed had experienced being cyberbullied or had cyberbullied someone. It commonly occurs on social media apps, in text/email, gaming communities, websites, and other places where one can communicate online with others. Bullies may also feel more inclined to cyberbully due to the anonymity online.
Education about cyberbullying is an effective method to prevent cyberbullying. Being able to identify cyberbullying and knowing what to do if it occurs will better equip you to address cyberbullying if it happens.
If one suspects someone is being cyberbullied, there are a few signs that may indicate someone is being cyberbullied. These signs include noticeable increases or decreases in device use, exhibiting emotional responses (anger, upset) to what is happening on their device, hiding their screen or device when others are near, avoiding discussion about what they are doing on their device, and social media accounts shutting down or new ones appearing. Negative changes in their behaviour are also signs that someone may be being cyberbullied. However, the best way to know if someone is being cyberbullied is to talk to them directly.
Along with signs, some effects of cyberbullying can also lead to emotional, physical, and behavioural changes. It can lead to the development of depression/anxiety, lower self-esteem, academic issues, self-harm, and suicidal thoughts. If the cyberbullying gets more severe, one can develop gastrointestinal issues, change in eating habits, and having trouble sleeping. Kids who are cyberbullied also have a higher chance of substance abuse, skipping school, and carrying dangerous weapons. Other issues may be causing someone's distress, but it is good to confirm with the person themselves.
Before taking action upon a case of cyberbullying, understanding the case thoroughly will allow you to provide better help to the victim. Understand who the bully is, why this is happening, an idea of the severity of the case, and how long this has been going on. Having this information can allow you, the victim, and the therapist or official to better gauge the situation and act accordingly. For example, people who have been submitted to cyberbullying for long durations can develop many conditions and might be much more sensitive than people who have received mild cyberbullying or have only been submitted to it for a short amount of time.
Being a cyberbullying victim can have very serious negative mental impacts. There are many avenues for support for people who are being cyberbullied. The best way to get support is to talk to someone you trust, such as a friend or a parent. Letting someone know what is happening is one of the best ways to address cyberbullying. If cyberbullying is happening within school, teachers and counsellors will be able to help. If it is happening outside of school or if no one is available to talk to, local counsellors and mental health services are available. There are also online resources such as talk lines for mental health and suicide prevention.
Reporting cyberbullying is one of the best ways to prevent cyberbullying from escalating further. There are many ways that cyberbullying can be reported. First of all, if cyberbullying is happening to you or someone you know, you should report it to a trusted adult, such as a parent or a teacher. Even if you are not sure that someone is cyberbullying or is being cyberbullied, it is best to bring it to an adult's attention. Another option is to report cyberbullying to your internet service provider or the platform where the cyberbullying is taking place. Cyberbullying breaks many platforms' terms of service, so if it cyberbullying is brought to their attention they will often take action against it. This might be by removing offending content or blocking users who are bullying. Serious cases of cyberbullying can be illegal. Illegal acts include threats of violence, child pornography, sending sexually explicit videos or pictures, taking a photo or video of someone in a place where he or she would expect privacy, stalking, and hate crimes. If any of these things are happening, law authorities should be contacted.
There are many ways to help someone who is being cyberbullied. Talking to them and letting them know that you support them is always a good thing to do. You should also document what is happening. Documenting what is happening will allow you to report it to school authorities, internet/social media providers, or law enforcement if needed. Another thing you can do is help them get support and help them report it.
There are laws in the Canadian Criminal Code that provide will incur punishment for people who have committed cyberbullying. Information can be found for further reading
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