Beatbullying is the UK's leading bullying prevention charity. Founded in 1999, Beatbullying empowers young people to lead bullying prevention campaigns in their schools and local communities, and more recently online because of the huge rise in cyberbullying.
What is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is when someone uses technology, like the internet or a mobile phone, to deliberately hurt, humiliate, harass, or threaten someone else.
Cyberbullying includes things like:
- Sending nasty or threatening texts or emails
- Posting abusive messages online - on a social networking site, in a chatroom, or using IM
- Posting humiliating videos or pictures online, or sen ding them on to other people
- Taking on someone else's identity online in order to upset them
- Setting up a hate site or a hate group on a SNS site
- Prank calling
It can sometimes feel quite difficult to escape cyberbullying as bullies can use technology to target you at home or on your mobile, even if they're not right there in the room with you. For the cyberbully, there's the problem that once you send a bullying message or post something online, everyone can see it, and you can't take it back. Many cyberbullies think that no one will be able to find out who they are, but that's not the case.
The most important thing to remember is that you should never ignore cyberbullying. Report it, flag it, and talk to someone about it.
CASE STUDY: Julianne
Bullied girl received message to "hurry up and die"
Seventeen-year-old Julianne was a victim of persistent verbal and physical bullying at school, but even at home she couldn't escape her tormentors, as they continued their assault over the internet.
At the peak of her torture, when she was 15, Julianne received a series of vicious messages and online postings via her MySpace profile. One of the most vitriolic read: "I just want you to know what a fat, evil, sadistic cow you are. I want to see you suffer as slow and painful a death as possible." The bully's message of insults and threats ran to over a page.
Julianne's ordeal started with a simple argument after a basketball game. One girl continued to bully her, and the problem escalated from name-calling to physical assaults. However, the incidents were not limited to the confines of the school, and the bullying continued outside of school.
When Julianne began receiving anonymous insults and threats via MySpace, she contacted one of Beatbullying's directors, John Quinn. Julianne became withdrawn, angry and upset. Each time Julianne received an abusive message online, she would contact Beatbullying with a copy of the message, and John was able to offer support and advice.
Over a significant period of time, John persuaded Julianne to tell her learning mentor. Ultimately, with the support of her learning mentor and Beatbullying, Julianne was able to overcome her experiences. The learning mentor had an idea of who the perpetrator might be, and the messages stopped.
Julianne continued to work with Beatbullying and her confidence grew. She has now changed schools and has no contact with her bully, but co
ntinues to work with Beatbullying to increase awareness of bullying and help others that are experiencing similar problems to those that she was able to overcome.
What can you do about it?
Get with it! The best form of dealing with cyberbullying is about prevention. Have your wits about you and always be alert to anything ou
t of the ordinary or strange. Here are some top tips to help you:
Posting pix and vids
Posting pictures and videos is fun and it's generally cool to share. But once you post a photo on a website, remember that most people can see what you've put up! Once a picture is online, other people can download it and do
what they like with it...it's not just yours any more.
Keep it private
You may want to consider marking your photos private, so that only your friends can view the pictures. Protect yourself - on CyberMentors and on other sites, you can set your photos to be seen only by either registered users or friends.
Are you sure you want to go public?
You must be sure you are happy to have pictures or videos of yourself online and in public. Please always make sure that there is nothing in them that can make strangers work out where you live. And never give out very personal information like your address or telephone number or even your email address to people you meet online.
Respect and tolerance
Online it's easy to be misunderstood - you write something then realise it looks odd or it wasn't what you meant. It's also easy to get worked up because you disagree with something or someone has annoyed you. Try and be cool - respect other people's opinions and views. We can't all get along all of the time, but we can try to be respectful.
Reporting bullying and abuse
Always report anything abusive you see online to the site concerned. Flag it, report it, do whatever you can - but don't just move
on without doing anything. The web is a great place with a few dodgy characters - don't let them get away with behaving in an unacceptable way.
Visit our safety centre pages for more helpful tips at www.cybermentors.org.
If there's something strange in your neighbourhood - who you gonna call?
If you do experience any form of bullying or you are just worried about something and feel that talking to someone might help then CyberMentors is the perfect place!
What is CyberMentors?
The first peer mentoring site run by young
people, for young people.
CyberMentors is all about young people helping and supporting each other online.
If you're being bullied, or are feeling a bit low, or are maybe troubled by something and you're not sure what to do or who to talk to, then CyberMentors is where you can go for help. It doesn't matter how big or small you think the problem is, or whether you're being targeted online or offline, CyberMentors are here to listen and support you.
It may not be you that is being bullied - perhaps a friend? That's fine, you can talk to a CyberMentor and either get advice on how to help them or even better, tell your friend to get online themselves - after all that's what friends are for, right?
The best thing about it is that CyberMentors are young people too. It's never easy talking about bullying, and many young people have told us that they would prefer to speak to another young person if they could. That's why CyberMentors are young people like you, who have been trained and are volunteering their time online t
o help you. It's still important however, that you talk to your parents or teachers if you can.
If you want to talk about a problem you've got with bullying, log on to www.cybermentors.org and just drop a CyberMentor a message or ask to chat to them online. The site is secure, and you can keep all your chats private, but there are also counsellors available for anything really serious.
If your school has been involved in the CyberMentors training, then there will also be CyberMentors available to talk to you face-to-face if you'd prefer.
If you're still not sure, or want to find out more about CyberMentors, including how to get involved, simply send a message to: Patrick@beatbullying.org.
Here come the stats!
- As many as 70% of all young people have experienced some form of bullying
- One million kids are bullied every week, inside and outside of school
- Bullying is one of the biggest concerns for children (and parents!) as they grow up
- At least 20 children every year commit suicide because they are being bullied.
Beatbullying asked almost 2,500 young people about cyberbullying to find out what's going on.
- 50% said they'd been cyberbullied
- 29% told no one about being cyberbullied
- 73% said they knew who was sending them bullying messages
- 11% admitted to being a cyberbully
- 70% of those who have been bullied said they would talk to young people online to get advice