Cyberbullying: Remove the Mean from the Screen

Cyberbullying is a prominent issue that needs to be addressed by both teens and adults


Cartoon by Alexa Gamo

Imagine coming across words slandering you on social media. Suppose they are calling you names, spreading rumors of you doing things you never did, leaving rude and hateful comments on your latest Instagram post. How would you respond? Would you report it? What would you do?

Most adolescents experience some form of cyberbullying yet only 10 percent ever report their experiences to a proper authority, counselor or other trusted adult, the National Bullying Prevention Center said.

Cyberbullies use social media as most content disappears a short time later. However, nothing truly disappears from the internet- especially with screenshot technology, copies distributed, old text messages and other mechanisms that preserve the information.

According to CyberBullying Research Center, Snapchat is one of the most popular mediums for cyberbullying as snaps disappear quickly and without due consequences. Experts recommend screenshotting the abusive snaps in order for reporting. By screenshotting, the attempts to cyberbully without evidence left behind will be nullified.

Teenagers typically don’t recognize cyberbullying for what it is.

StopBullying, a government sponsored program, said cyberbullying is the use of any electronic media to abuse a person in any way, shape or form, typically through abusive messages, embarrassing photos and rumors. Even rude or harassing comments on pictures are a form of cyberbullying.

Although students may read threatening phrases as a “joke” from “friends,” boundaries should be set and drawn. Blurred lines make it difficult for students to differentiate between a “joke” and cyberbullying. Teens should report anything that makes them feel uncomfortable, attacked or embarrassed, all of which count as cyberbullying.

Without proper intervention, cyberbullying will only increase. However, if adolescents and adults move together toward making a change and counteracting cyberbullying, the problem will diminish and hopefully, not affect as many teens in the future.