by Christina Harris
According to Stopbullying.gov, a federal government website managed by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, the definition of cyberbullying is "bullying that is taking place using electronic technology." Although cyberbullying takes place on social networks such as Facebook, Myspace, Instagram and Twitter, it is not limited to those media. Cyberbullying can also take the form of terrorizing text messages including mass texting spreading a rumor about a particular individual.
Cyberbullying is a bigger problem than many people realize, and should not be taken lightly or in a joking manner. The Cyberbullying Research Center did a study and found that over half of teens have been victims of cyberbullying. Since 80% of teens use cellphones, it is concluded that cellphones and text messages are the most common and convenient forum for cyberbullying.
The study revealed that:
there are 4,400 suicides amongst our youth every year
for every 1 suicide there are about 100 suicide attempts
and bullying, cyberbullying included, is the cause of more than half of the suicides in our youth each year.
This means of the 4,400 suicides per year, 2,200 or more were bullying-induced.
There are many anti-bullying websites including stopbullying.gov and Utterly Global. There are also social media campaigns to promote antibullying including #UnFollowBullying, which for the Edublogs 10th anniversary of “The Best of the Web Awards” won the best Twitter hashtag for education. This hashtag promotion was even featured at an anti-bullying rally at the California state capital in October.
If you or someone you know is being bullied whether it be cyberbullying or face-to-face, then notify the police or a school official. If the bullying has gone too far and you or a loved one is considering suicide, then call 1-800-273-TALK (8255) to get help.