Social media wasn’t such a heavy presence for some of us going through high school, and seeing as I’m included in that category, it’s really showing my age and m8s, I’m practically ancient.
Sure, I had access to Myspace (and eventually Facebook) towards the tail-end of my schooling years, but social media wasn’t nearly as huge as it is now, where practically everyone with an internet connection has a social media account of some sort.
For me, the idea of having Snapchat or Instagram when I was going through my school years is absolutely crap-thy-pants terrifying – school can be hard enough without the added pressure of having to keep up an online presence.
And with more ways to communicate, it also opens up more ways to bully – in person, online, through friends, you name it.
So, PEDESTRIAN.TV spoke to Amanda, a Kids Helpline Counsellor, to give us an idea on how to deal with cyberbullying and how to be a good person if you notice other people being bullied online.
If you’ve ever been unlucky enough to experience bullying on social media, I feel for ya but also remember that you’re by no means alone – social media can be the absolute pits and most of us have at least seen an unpleasant user in action.
So, what do we do if we’re being bullied online? Amanda reckons the key is to handle it as calmly as possible, not to react emotionally but to respond respectfully and in a witty or humorous way, as well as report someone who is behaving in an inappropriate way.
I know a lot of you probably flinch when you hear a suggestion to ‘report’ someone. I guess it sounds similar to that old myth that telling someone about someone else’s bad behaviour makes you a ‘snitch’ – nup. If someone’s behaving out of line, reporting that behaviour means that it can be addressed and that the bully can get help – report away, I say.
Amanda recommends reporting to the game, site or app you are on first and foremost. In many cases you can report anonymously too. If the bullying keeps happening or you aren’t happy with the response of the site, you can then report to the eSafety Commissioner.
While social media does have its flaws (four-million and counting), the beauty of it is that there are often going to be a bunch of like-minded people as you, so you can have each other’s backs in some instances. So, if you notice someone else being bullied online, make sure the bully is aware that what they’ve said was not okay – it doesn’t have to be much, just a friendly reminder that they can’t be treating other people like that online. If you see someone else being cyberbullied, you can also report it (even though you aren’t the one being targeted).
There’s strength in numbers so the more people who defend those being bullied, the more likely it is that the bully will realise they’re actually in the minority and will hopefully start thinking twice about how they interact with other people.
Amanda also suggests that you shouldn’t let those bullying you get wind of how you actually feel about it all as often they want you to get angry or upset. You have every right to be upset, but there’s no point feeding into any of it if you can help it. Just keep being your 11/10 self.
Anywho, don’t forget that if you feel even remotely bad about the situation, you can always chat to someone you trust, reach out to Kids Helpline or, if it’s cyberbullying, hit up eSafety Commissioner for Cyberbullying – they’re dedicated to assisting those being cyberbullied so you’re in damn good hands.
Kids Helpline is here for you – anytime, any reason. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.