Dealing with cyberbullying by shutting the computer? Not a solution.

June 5, 2014

Over the last few weeks, you've been sharing your stories with us about the different ways you deal with cyberbullying—as teens or as parents.

One thing that struck us was the advice many had to: "Just turn off the computer and go outside".

If only it were that simple.

Most teens use a computer for homework, to play games online and to interact with virtual friends, or to stay in touch with grandparents through video messaging. To most teens, going online is not a choice; it's a major part of their day.

Now, imagine if you're a teen, and this virtual world of information and human interactions becomes a place where you feel uncomfortable, judged, attacked, even hated. Imagine if the simple thought of checking your email causes you so much anxiety that you'd rather fall behind on school work and stop talking to your friends altogether. Think about how your online experience shifts when, instead of logging in to see some funny animal memes or the latest Neil deGrasse Tyson quotes—your inbox and timeline are overflowing with vicious comments about you.

Then imagine that the very next day you have to go to school and see the people who sent you those awful messages. Even though you shut off your computer, kept quiet, and went outside for a walk, nothing really changed. The messages are still there and more may be on their way. You can't hide forever.

So we ask: is turning off the computer the best possible advice to offer someone who is being cyberbullied?

No.

For those who are being cyberbullied, we encourage you to deal with what's going on, by talking to someone you trust, like a parent or a teacher.

And if you're responsible for a teen, please try to create a safe environment where conversations about what's troubling them online can take place. That's the first step you can take to end cyberbullying. We're here to help, by providing information on how to start the conversation, how to deal with cyberbullying, and where to go for help, but you also have an important role to play.

Just ignoring the problem by “shutting off the computer and going outside” won't help us end cyberbullying, Share this message and start an honest conversation about cyberbullying.


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Comments

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Comments

Anonymous

cyberbullies are pathetic because they cant even say anything to someones face, they are so irrelevant to everything because they suck.

Anonymous

I think the parents need to go knock on the door of the children who are posting these awful things and show them what's been going on. These are the kids who need supervised computer time and not be allowed to have a computer in their rooms unsupervised.

Jerry L.

The most of safe of public site is school and News. Because two site can help you learn more information of nation and knowledge, school Website can help you to get more information about school news. That all I can tell you.

Anonymous

How to prevent this. Get OFF THE INTERNET.

concerned parent

I've found with my kids the best way to help them is to prepare for possible problems they might encounter. The white board animations at jw.org are really helpful, the one that deals with this issue is titled Be Social Network Smart.

A Concerned Person

Why can't you log out of whatever social app you have on your computer? If a kid is legitly doing their homework then why are they communicating with bullies online? Also, what is the problem with closing out a tab? Seriously, if you don't have what it takes to read a mean comment, then you shouldn't be on social media, chatrooms, or even the internet. As a last note, I'm not writing this comment to be rude or nasty, I'm writing it because I have been bullied online, and I didn't commit suicide or become anti-social, I stood up for myself by A: Walking away from my device & B: Not being a baby about it and taking it upon myself to improve the situation. Parents... Please tell your kids about how to avoid feeling scared or helpless online, and if worst comes to worst, just walk away.

GetCyberSafe Team

Thank you for reaching out and sharing your story with us. Sometimes simply trying to walk away won’t solve the whole problem, and we want to encourage kids to talk to someone they trust, like a parent or a teacher . If we all stand together, we can help put an end to bullying.

Anymore

In my day I was bullied physically in school. It sucked!!!, But I learned valuable lessons on how to deal with weak minded people and how to grow personally. It's part of life's lessons. When my kids encounter bullying, we didn't look for laws or others to solve the problem. I taught my kids how rise above and deal with it. Now they are well adjusted, productive, caring adults who are prepare for the reality of adult life!

GetCyberSafe Team

There certainly are important lessons to be learned when dealing with bullies, but it is illegal, and with the technology that kids today have at their disposal, bullies can follow their targets into their personal lives in a way they never could before. How to deal with it will always depend on the situation, but kids shouldn’t have to feel alone in this.

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