Think Twice & Just Be Nice
Updated: Jul 3, 2020
In an age where technology is more accessible than ever, it’s important to know the dangers and repercussions of digital harassment. Cyberbullying is categorized by verbal aggression (i.e. threats or harassment) and relational aggression (i.e. spreading rumors) spread electronically, often through social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and more recently, TikTok.
Cyberbullying has become a national issue in the recent past years. The 2017 School Crime Supplement (National Center of Education Statistics and Bureau of Justice) reports that, among students aging anywhere from 12-18 who reported being bullied during the school year alone, 15% were being bullied online or by text. The 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) indicates that about 14.9% of high school students were cyberbullied in the past 12 months prior to the survey.
These statistics are only what we find by scratching the surface of cyberbullying. Research indicates increased and intensified feelings of isolation, rejection, exclusion, and despair due to persistent bullying. Depression and anxiety are more likely to worsen, which can contribute to suicidal behavior. Specific groups are more likely to be targets for bullying, such as those of minority races or members of the LGBTQ+ community.
While there is a growing rate of cyberbullying in the U.S., there are no federal anti-bullying laws. 49 states only have anti-bullying legislation, and bullying is not considered illegal. This, however, is no reason to bully others. When bullying can be proven to be harassment, it does break a federal law in court.
So how can YOU help put a stop to bullying?
SPEAK UP. Tell someone, like a trusted adult or friend, about situations of bullying you experience or witness.
STAND UP. Remain calm and respectful, but remember to be firm in your stance. By sticking up for yourself or the person being bullied, you are influencing other bystanders to do the same.
SET AN EXAMPLE. It’s easy to feel protected by anonymity behind a screen. Before sending a text, ask yourself: Is this hurtful? Would I want people I care about to have this said to them? Am I proud of what I am saying and how this portrays me as a person?
By following these three steps, you can help put an end to cyberbullying. Remember, think twice and just be nice!
Co-Founder & Creative Director