Cyberbullying…. Not Me!
Have you ever received a mean message from a friend calling you names or taunting you? How about having a photo of yourself posted on Facebook without your consent with insulting comments listed below it? These are just some examples of Cyberbullying and it is the most technologically advanced form of bullying which has an individual or group of people acting aggressively or meanly towards you through the use of websites such as Facebook, Ning, Twitter and Youtube.
What do I do if I am being bullied online?
Talk to your parents or your guardians about the situation and tell them what you are experiencing so they can help you emotionally deal with the situation. You can block individuals who are bullying you from accessing your Twitter page or Facebook page so that the bullying can stop (please watch our videos by clicking on the video tab to make your privacy settings stronger). If students from school are threatening you via the internet, let the principal of your school know so that they know what is going on and can prevent any problems at school. If you do not say anything, no one can help you.
What can I do to stop others from bullying?
Choose your friends wisely - Having 400 so called “friends” on Facebook may make you look popular but who’s to say that all of those friends can be trusted? Don’t just add someone to your Facebook page until you know that they can be trusted and are very close friends of yours, otherwise you risk experiencing hurtful and violent message posts online. Delete those people from your friends who you do not know and keep only your close personal friends attached to you on Facebook/Twitter.
As a teenager it is obviously difficult to face your peers, but if you don’t stand up against cyber bullying it will continue to exist. If you come across a mean or hurtful message on Facebook posted by someone you do not know, delete it and delete them from your contact list, do not entertain them by responding, that is what bully’s thrive on online, your reaction to what they have written. Never Feed a Bully! Deleting that contact is your way of telling the bully “leave me alone”.
Approach a friend who is being bullied online and offer your support, tell them that you “have their back” and are there for them. Suggest to them that they should tell adults around them so it can be stopped.
Can the laws in Canada protect me?
There are laws that are in place to protect you from being subjected to threat’s online.
1) Section 264.1 (1) of the Criminal Code of Canadastates that:
“Any one who commits an offence who, in any manner, knowingly utters, conveys or causes any person to receive a threat.”
Punishment- 18 months to 5 years in jail. If the person threatening you was under the age of 18, they would be tried under the Young Offender’s Act and the charge could range from probation to serving time in a detention facility depending on the severity of the crime.
2) Defamation Libel-Section 298.1 of the Criminal Code of Canada states that
“A defamatory libel is matter published, without lawful justification or excuse, that is likely to injure the reputation of any person by exposing him to hatred, contempt or ridicule, or that is designed to insult the person of or concerning whom it is published.”
In other words, if someone is ruining your reputation by posting a message online and making fun of you or sending hateful remarks your way, than they are breaking the law! Time to tell an adult in your life! (Parent, Teacher, Administrator)
3) Publishing Libel- Section 299 of the Criminal Code of Canada states that:
“a person publishes libel when he a) exhibits it in public, b) causes it to be read or seen or c) shows or delivers it, or causes it to be shown or delivered, with intent that it should be read or seen by the person whom it defames or by any other person”.
In other words, if anyone publishes something on your Facebook page or sends out a Tweet about you in Twitter bashing your character than that is a criminal offence. Time to talk to an adult in your life!
Where Else Can I Find Information?
If you would like to read more information about cyberbulling and prevention, please click on the following links below.
- Stop a Bully! (Safe and Anonymous) – A Canadian focused website to help any any student, parent or educator who is dealing with a Bully.
- STOP BULLYING NOW! –Excellent Webisodes and information for Students and Parents
- STOP Cyberbullying
- PINK SHIRT DAY- Show your support of the Anti-Bullying campaign by wearing Pink on November 1st, 2010!
- TEEN ADVICE: Cyberbullying
This is a straightforward, and rather short, webpage on the basics of cyberbullying, such as what is cyberbullying, examples of cyberbullying, when the police should become involved, etcetera. At the very bottom of the webpage there are quite a few links to related forums, which you may find interesting.
- CTV NEWS Story on Cyberbullying.
This article from September 2010 talks about the different effects that cyber-bullying has, as opposed to physical or verbal bullying. The results discussed in this article are based on a 2005/2006 survey.
- BULLYING IN CANADA
This Canadian bullying website has, yes, more information, but it also has a lot of additional resources that the other sites don’t have. For example this site has group chat, one-on-one chat, a small selection of stories and poems, and a newsletter to sign up for.
- GLOBE AND MAIL CYBERBULLYING Article.
The interesting thing about this article is that it’s not just another “What is cyberbullying” piece. This specifically talks about what schools can and should do about cyberbullying. Since it’s a relatively new issue, many schools aren’t sure what they are and aren’t allowed to do when it comes to dealing with cyberbullying. The article also gives specific example cases, which really helps you understand all the issues that schools face. (Note that the article is American, so it doesn’t address Canadian policies/laws. )