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Am I cyberbullying?

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If you’ve ever sent a cruel text, posted something embarrassing of someone else or said something mean online, you’ve cyberbullied.

Even if the text or comment was in retaliation for being bullied, it still counts. It may seem harmless at first, but the consequences can be very serious.

If you aren’t sure if you’re cyberbullying, here are some examples:

  • sending hurtful or threatening texts or emails
  • harassing other players in online video games
  • posting photos that you know will embarrass someone
  • creating blogs to make fun of someone
  • inventing fake pages/profiles on social media to ridicule someone
  • sending a social media message of someone being bullied

Why am I cyberbullying?

There are a lot of reasons why people cyberbully, like:

  • some people think that what they’re doing is harmless or just a joke
  • people who are bored, restless or upset might cyberbully as a way of blowing off steam
  • cyberbullying can make a person feel powerful or popular, especially if others seem to think it’s funny
  • people who have been bullied themselves will sometimes cyberbully as a way of getting back at the people who hurt them or to feel powerful over others
  • sometimes people who cyberbully believe that the other person deserved it, which is never true
  • groups of people sometimes egg each other on — when a group of people cyberbully together it can get severe very quickly

While it’s easy to make excuses, try to remember that you’re dealing with someone’s feelings. No one deserves to be treated that way and the consequences can be real.

How do I stop cyberbullying?

You don’t have to try to stop cyberbullying alone. Kids Help Phone counsellors can help you brainstorm ideas on how to get support at 1-800-668-6868.

In the meantime, you can:

  • Talk to someone: let someone you trust know that you’re trying to be less aggressive online.
  • Spend less time online: use your device in a more public space or limit your access.
  • Take time: give yourself a minute before you post something online. Ask yourself, “Is this appropriate?” “Will I hurt someone?” “Would I be OK if someone said this about me?”