For Over 37 Years, Long Island's Leading Non-Profit Organization Dedicated to Preventing Bullying and Child Abuse

Are You Being Bullied?

If you are like most kids, you spend a lot of time online! According to a 2010 national survey, 8-18 year-olds devote an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes to using entertainment media per day, or more than 53 hours a week. “Media multi-tasking” actually allows kids to pack a total of 10 hours and 45 minutes worth of media content into those 7½ hours.

When you think of all the risks kids might encounter online, what comes to mind?

What has become very clear is that the biggest threat kids face online is bullying and harassment from their peers. Did you know that cyber-bullying is the most common online risk for young people affecting about a third of 13-17 year olds in the United States, and has led to some tragic cyber-bullying related suicides?

Simply stated, cyber-bullying is engaging in social cruelty via digital technologies.

Why do you think kids are so mean online? Here’s what some kids have to say:

Because I can.
Everyone does it.
It doesn’t really hurt anyone.
It’s fun.
Because I won’t get caught.
They deserve it.
It’s a matter of free speech.

Cyber-bullying may constitute a crime
It “crosses the line” when you, for example:

  • threaten violence against another person or property
  • stalk someone
  • take a photo of someone where privacy is expected (like a locker room)
  • send obscene text messages
  • sexting or forwarding inappropriate photos or texts of a sexual nature

Also be aware that if you harass someone online you could be the subject of civil litigation, and your parents may be held financially responsible for the harm you caused another.

Keep in mind not all kids are mean online
It’s really important to know that a lot of very cool kids are using the Internet responsibly, safely and with integrity. Remember, you are a part of a community online. And as in any community, you have rights and responsibilities. Read each site’s terms of use agreement and participate accordingly. Think carefully about what kind of community you wish to create for yourself and for others.

If you are being cyber-bullied, here are some tips:

  • Remember no one can see your initial reaction when you’re sitting alone in front of the computer. So if you become upset or angry or sad no one has to know as long as you keep your fingers off the keyboard and don’t respond! We know that bullies love to get a reaction so don’t give them what they want. We know this is hard so take a break and don’t retaliate.
  • If you choose to respond, take your time and respond one time only. Take your time to write a calm, assertive, strong response back. Time is on your side.
  • Save the evidence. Cyber-bullies leave digital footprints: evidence that can be used against them.
  • Block the sender
  • Report the abuse to the Internet Service Provider (ISP)
  • Set your messenger to show messages from only people you know. Familiarize yourself with the site’s privacy settings!