3 Little Ways To Stop Cyberbullying, Because Bullying Can Have Lifelong Effects
Unfortunately, the experience of being bullied is something almost everyone can relate to, especially in the age of technology and the Internet. Luckily, there are a number of little ways to fight cyberbullying out there — though it's important to remember that when it comes to harassment, you may need to get to the root of the problem to put an end to it completely.
Bullying takes place in schools, neighborhoods, and, sadly, even in spaces typically associated with adults, such as in cases of workplace bullying. For a lot of people, facing a bully can be an intimidating experience, especially if that person is perceived to have a position of authority or power over you. When it comes to confronting a bully, it can be terrifying: After all, if the person has already been cruel to you, it's scary to think that standing up for yourself could make matters worse.
Cyberbullying is a major problem, both for young people and adults. When it comes to teenagers, 80 percent agree that it's easier to bully someone online than in it is to bully them in person. Unsurprisingly, of the nearly 50 percent of young people who have been bullied online, one in four report having been cyberbullied more than once. Cyberbullying is an issue for adults as well, with some studies reporting that 40 percent of respondents have experienced cyberbullying as adults. For those who did not report experiencing cyberbullying themselves, 75 percent of respondents still reported witnessing online harassment between others.
Here are a few easy to use resources that aim to help combat cyberbullying right from your laptop or cell phone:
The world of cyberbullying opens up new opportunities for bullies to make their hurtful messages known — but if you know you have bullying tendencies, and you're willing to try to do something to curb them, the Google Chrome extension Reword is a free tool you can add to your web browser as a means of combating hate speech and hateful language. The extension picks up on insults or cruel messages (such as "kill yourself," for example) and crosses them out with a red line. Then, a message pops up with a suggestion on how to reword the message, reminding you that your words have an impact. Ultimately, people are going to type what they're going to type, but I think this is an awesome tool to remind people that their words can have a huge impact on others.
This app is more to help parents monitor their kids and prevent them from cyberbullying, but I think it's still important to mention. The app works by notifying parents when their kids create new social media accounts and sending them messages if their kids are using "trigger words." In addition to letting parents know if their kids are using bullying language, it can also inform them if their children are talking about self-harm, having suicidal thoughts, or talking about committing an act of violence against others. And if kids aren't talking about these things? The app rewards them with points they can use towards things like gift cards.
STOPit is an app that allows people to anonymously report instances of online bullying. This app is geared towards schools, who can pay a fee (typically between $2 and $5 per student) per month for students to use the app on their mobile phones. Once students download the app, they can screenshot instances of cyberbullying and upload it into their school's platform, where administrators can see the evidence and take the incident from there. Hypothetically, this allows students to report bullying with anonymity, and gives administrators fast access to the evidence they need to confront the bullying ASAP.
Unfortunately, when it comes to any kind of bullying, it can be difficult to prevent hurtful messages from actually reaching people. While it's awesome to have resources that allow us to quickly respond to incidents and hold people accountable, it doesn't necessarily erase the hateful words or images people spread to one another. Especially in schools, where young people are dying by suicide after being bullied at an alarming rate, it's important to have outreach geared both towards students who are being bullied, as well as those doing the bullying, as there's usually a root to the issue that causes kids to bully one another in the first place. Hateful words only take a minute to speak (or type), but the effects of bullying can last a lifetime.