Cyberbullying: Difference from In-Person Bullying and How to Help Someone Who is Being Cyberbullied
You may have heard of the term “cyberbullying”. If not, you are probably wondering what it means. To understand what cyberbullying is, you should know what bullying is first. So, let’s refresh your memory.
Bullying is when someone repeatedly hurts someone else. There are many types of bullying but two of the most common types are verbal and physical. Verbal bullying involves name-calling, teasing, and insulting. Physical bullying includes pushing, hitting, kicking, and stealing/ruining your belongings.
Cyberbullying is another type of bullying except it is done online. The bully could post online threats or messages as well as the victim’s personal information, pictures, or videos. Although cyberbullying and in-person bullying are similar in many ways, they also have many differences.
How is Cyberbullying Different from In-Person Bullying?
- The Bully Can Be Anonymous
With cyberbullying, you may not know who the person bullying you is. Fake profiles and accounts can easily be made. When bullying is done in person, the victim knows who their bully is.
- Cyberbullying Can Take Place Anywhere and at Anytime
Cyberbullying can be done anywhere and at any time as long as there is internet access. It could even take place while you are in the privacy of your own home. In-person bullying is usually done at school and the bully has to be in the same place as the victim at the same time.
- Cyberbullying Can Go Viral
Online posts can go viral and be continuously forwarded to potentially thousands of people. These posts are often referred to as ‘memes’. This type of bullying could be more humiliating because the post can be circulated throughout many social media platforms.
- Cyberbullies Usually Feel Less Guilt
Since cyberbullying is not done face-to-face, the bully is less likely to feel guilty for their actions. They may not realize their actions are affecting someone else. This could result in the bully being more aggressive.
What Are the Effects of Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying and in-person bullying have similar effects on the victim. They could be physical, mental, or emotional. Those who are being bullied usually experience loneliness, changes in eating and sleeping patterns, and a loss of interest in activities they would have usually enjoyed. They are more likely to avoid going to school or even drop out. With constant bullying, the victim may develop mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, low self-esteem, or post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
In some cases, cyberbullying may be more intense than in-person bullying. This is because cyberbullying can be done anonymously, at any time, and could be seen by thousands of people if it goes viral. This makes the victim feel like they have no escape and seem as if they aren’t safe in their own home.
How Can You Help Someone Who Is Being Cyberbullied?
- Tell Someone
If someone is being cyberbullied, a trusted adult should be told. Bullying can get worse so it is best to tell someone about it as soon as possible. This will allow them to be able to help you before the bullying escalates.
- Save the Evidence
Since cyberbullying is done online, you can capture and save the evidence. You could use the proof to report the bullying to someone you trust. If needed, it could also be used to take legal action.
- Don’t Respond to the Bully
Responding to the bully may not be a good idea. It could make the situation worse. Ignoring the bully is a good way to take away their power. Report them to the social media site, block them, and try to find something to distract you. Read a book, watch a movie, or spend time with friends and family.
Remember that it is not the victim’s fault. The bully might make it seem like it is, but it is not. If someone tells you they are being bullied, believe them and try your best to help them out.
Ben-Joseph, Elana Pearl. “Cyberbullying.” KidsHealth. https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/cyberbullying.html
ConnectSafely. “Tips to Help Stop Cyberbullying.” https://www.connectsafely.org/tips-to-help-stop-cyberbullying/
Online Sense. “5 Differences Between Cyber Bullying and Traditional Bullying.” https://onlinesense.org/5-differences-cyber-bullying-traditional-bullying/
Robinson, Lawrence, and Jeanne Segal. “Bullying and Cyberbullying.” HelpGuide. https://www.helpguide.org/articles/abuse/bullying-and-cyberbullying.htm
UNICEF. “Cyberbullying: What is it and how to stop it.” https://www.unicef.org/end-violence/how-to-stop-cyberbullying