Teen Guide: Overcoming Cyberbullying!

As teenagers, we face so many challenges. The last thing we need is to turn against each other. I love the concept of teens helping teens because it brings positivity and unity in our judgmental world. Bullying is a problem and has been a problem for far too long. This issue has only gotten worse over time as technology has become a primary method of communicating. The use of electronic communication to bully a person is known as cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying is a common form of bullying among teenagers. Since I am a teenager myself, I felt the need to investigate ways to prevent cyberbullying in order to keep the peace. I discovered that there are three main areas that need focus when it comes to cyberbullying. I use a three step process. 

First, I educated myself by facing the facts. Next, I look into myself and others on a deeper level. This allows me to identify the fears lying behind my eyes as well as the bully’s eyes. Lastly, I use my knowledge and insight to face the bully.

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Facing the Facts

This is the starting point. Educating yourself on cyberbullying will help you understand yourself and the bullies better. 

There are different forms of cyberbullying. I have found that I can summarize cyberbullying into three main forms: 

Threats

Rumors

Judgements

Threats

Threats via text messages, phone calls, emails, DMs, etc. create the first form of cyberbullying that I have researched. Often times, the threats are purely made to bully another teen and not to cause actual physical harm. However, safety is a huge concern, and all threats should be taken seriously. i-SAFE foundation provides cyberbullying statistics on their website. One of which is that more than 1 in 3 young people have experienced cyberthreats online.

Rumors

Rumors are the second form of cyberbullying that I have experienced as a teenager. Rumors spread instantly and cause emotional damage. All cyberbullying methods especially spreading rumors can push teens into a depression and/or push teens to feel intense anxiety. This can also cause teens to fear going to school. According to the Cyberbullying Research Center, mean, hurtful comments and spreading rumors are the most common type of cyber bullying.

Judgements

Judgements are the third form of cyberbullying that I researched. I have experienced judgements primarily on social media. Judgmental comments are directed at teens by other teens on nearly all social media platforms. 

These three forms of cyberbullying encompass a great portion of cyberbullying as a whole. This knowledge will help you begin the next step of facing the fears.

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Facing the Fears 

The victim and the bully often share many of the same fears. Every teenager on this earth is struggling with something. It is a matter of coping and handling the struggles that make the difference.

Fears of the Victim

Victims are often experiencing depression, anxiety, or other mental health challenges. This can make them a prime target to be bullied. Quiet teenagers are also often picked on especially because many quiet teenagers are afraid to stand up for themselves. There are an infinite amount of fears that victims face, and every fear is valid. 

Fears of the Bully 

Many bullies have been bullied themselves. An outlet for these teens is to bully other teens. Comparisons and jealousy are huge reasons that teens bully, and I have experienced this first-hand. Victims and bullies fear in similar ways. We are all human and reach a breaking point.

How Do I Conquer My Fears?

I have learned to stand up for myself to the best of my ability. As a victim, I needed to regain my confidence and love for myself. I also decided to find a support structure of family and friends that are kind to me so that I do not need to wonder if I will be bullied by the people around me. I have found that many bullies simply need better coping skills. They can express their emotions in healthier, therapeutic ways rather than take their struggles out on others. You can find a massive list of coping skills specifically for teens in the Brain XP Teen Toolbox.

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Facing the Bully

Eventually, you will reach the point when you have to face the bully. You now know more about cyberbullying and how to face the fears inside of you. It is time to use these discoveries and realizations to face the bully. 

Fighting Back vs. Ignoring

I have personally found very little benefit in fighting back. It is difficult to ignore the people who are hurting you, but it is important to keep calm. The bullies I have faced eventually stopped bullying me because they did not get the reaction they were looking for. Face the bully with silence.

Bring Positivity and Support to the Bully

There is nothing better than helping someone realize that they are not alone. Bullies who feel alone will find ways to put others down because they want others to feel the same way as them. As difficult as it may be, try to stay positive and brings good vibes everywhere you go. They may eventually rub off on the bully.

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Christine Frey