Cyberbullying is a serious business and in Canada it is sometimes a crime. I hear you when you say “I don’t want to be the one to call the cops”, so don’t. But remember that a friend is someone who helps when the times are tough and cyberbullying is tough.
Below are a few tips to help YOU help your friend through their cyberbullying nightmare:
- Don’t jump in. This might go without saying, except in todays online world it is easy to get caught up in the excitement. Stay calm and think it through
- Stand up against the online bullying. If you know the person doing it, tell them it’s not okay with you, but don’t get any more confrontational than that.
- Talk to an adult. Yes, I know you think they won’t understand but someone you know will. Your parents, (sometimes even grand parents), favourite teacher, older brother sister, student councillor…
- Call out the cyberbullying online. Use words like “That’s mean!” or “Stop it!” to show everyone you don’t approve. Many others may have been waiting for someone brave enough to take a stand, all it takes is one person and others may join to help stop it.
- If you are afraid to call them out with your own account, create a new account then do it. Be sure to create some other content first and “like” or retweet other content so it is no so obvious that this is coming from a ‘fake’ account. If you are going to use a fake account to stand up for your friend, do not tell ANYONE (except your parents if it comes to that). You can keep your secrets but others just can’t.
- If you feel physical threats are involved or safety is at risk, tell a teacher or get the police involved. It’s not ‘tattling’ on your friend if someone’s safety is at stake.
- If you’re unsure of what to do, a counsellor at Kids Help Phone can help you come up with solutions. Call 24-7 at 1-800-668-6868. It’s free and always confidential. If you don’t feel like talking, you can live chat with them online at kidshelpphone.ca
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