By Sameer Hinduja and Justin W. Patchin
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1. Talk about it. Tell someone if you’re the target of cyberbullying. Whether it’s your parents, a teacher, or another trusted adult, or even your best friend, never keep the fact that you’re being bullied to yourself. We know it’s not fun and it’s hard to talk about it, but you should give others a chance to come through for you. It could help make the problem go away, which is the ultimate goal.
2. Ignore them. If there is an isolated incident where you are being bullied, don’t respond to the instigator. Cyberbullies who do not get a response from their target may just move on. They are looking for a response—don’t give it to them!
3. Never retaliate. Be the bigger person and never retaliate against someone who cyberbullies. Retaliation only further perpetuates the cycle of violence, and does nothing to solve the problem. Plus, if you retaliate you could get into trouble for what you are doing or saying to them!
4. Tell them to stop. For repeated bullying, if ignoring the bully doesn’t work, tell them to stop. Let them know that what they are doing is hurtful and, more importantly, lame and uncool. Be respectful in approaching them and never come off in an aggressive manner.
5. Laugh. If someone says something funny about you, try to laugh it off. Maybe they really are just trying to be funny and not hurtful. Sometimes we say funny things or make fun of a friend as a way of fitting in. Of course this can be taken too far. If it is not funny at all, and you really are hurt by what was said, try one of the other responses listed here.
6. Save the evidence. Record all instances of cyberbullying. Print out Facebook messages and emails, save text messages, and capture screen shots when cyberbullying occurs. Then turn these documents over to an adult who you believe can help.
7. Block access to cyberbullies. Block cyberbullies from contacting you. Most websites and software programs have the ability for you to block certain users from messaging you or even being able to “see” you online. Newer phones have the capability to block preset phone numbers, and you can also contact your cell phone service provider (for example, AT&T or Verizon) to help. If certain people simply cannot reach you, it will be more difficult for them to bully you.
8. Report it to the content provider. If you don’t know who the cyberbully is, contact the con- tent provider of the site where the cyberbullying is occur- ring and make a report. The most popular web sites (like Facebook, YouTube, and Google) make it pretty easy to report cyberbullying. Harassment is a violation of the terms of service of all reputable web sites.
9. Never pass along messages from cyber- bullies. If you receive a hurtful or embarrassing messages or photos of someone else, delete it and refrain from forwarding it to others. Don’t be part of the problem, be part of the solution. You can stop cyberbullying by letting your friends know that is simply isn’t cool.
10. Call the police. If you feel your safety (or the safety of someone else) is in danger, call the police immediately. Any time there is a threat, tell an adult. They can help you make sure that your safety is protected.
This Top Ten List specifies how teens can deal with online harassment and victimization when it happens to them.
Citation information: Hinduja, S. & Patchin, J.W. (2012). Responding to Cyberbullying: Top ten tips for teens. Cyberbullying Research Center. Retrieved [insert date], from http://cyberbullying.org/Top-Ten-Tips-Teens-Response.pdf
Keywords: response, responding, teens, tips, cyberbullying