When you react the right way to cyberbullying you can turn things around
Am I letting things go because I don’t think I can do anything to help? Actually, what you do is super important. What witnesses do about bullying is actually one of the most important factors in how much someone is hurt by it and can go a long way in building positive online spaces.
Not reacting to cyberbullying can hurt as much as cyberbullying
Am I hoping that someone else will do something so I don’t have to? A lot of people are reluctant to take action, but did you know that almost three-quarters of kids who’ve witnessed cyberbullying did something about it? If that surprises you, it may be because a lot of the things we can do to help – like speaking privately to the person who’s being mean, or letting the person who’s being targeted know you care about them – don’t happen in public.
Lots of times kids will say they’re not bullying, they’re ‘just joking’ – in fact, it’s the number one reason for being mean online. Other times, people will play down how serious the situation really is.
Am I letting things go because I’m worried about making things worse for the person being targeted? Some things we do when we witness cyberbullying – even when we’re trying to help – can make things worse, so it’s always a good idea to step back and think about the situation before jumping in.
One of the biggest changes in our understanding of bullying over the past few years has been our increased awareness of the important role that witnesses, or bystanders, play in any bullying situation. Research on offline bullying has shown that witnesses can be just as important as targets or perpetrators in determining how a bullying scenario plays out. This is especially relevant in the case of electronic bullying, where witnesses have many more choices in how they might engage: they can choose to be invisible, to join in anonymously, to re-victimize someone by forwarding bullying material – or they can choose to intervene, to offer support to the person being targeted and to bear witness to what they have seen
Despite their enthusiastic participation in social media, it’s a mistake to think that young people don’t care about privacy. MediaSmarts’ 2014 study Young Canadians in a Wired World, which surveyed over 5,000 students across Canada on their experiences with and attitudes towards digital media, found that they do have very strong feelings about their privacy, and take significant steps to control it.
Ontario Health Curriculum 9-12: Media and Digital Literacy Connections
Media and communications technology play an important role in a student’s health and physical education, for better or for worse. The new Ontario Health and Physical Education curriculum provides a spring board to start discussions related to health and media literacy.