Cyberbullying and its effects are without respite – humiliation that is unrelenting, taking place in front of an audience spanning the size of the entire World Wide Web.
Even in our own small community, cyberbullying exists. In last week’s article, “FSU confessions: Students cyberbullied on campus,” a Gatepost reporter discovered that, in one specific instance, one of our peers was bullied to the degree that she decided it was best to take time off from school.
We at The Gatepost were disturbed by these findings and want the community to recognize the severity of this growing problem.
Bullying is a cowardly act. And when it is done through an online public forum, it can be considered even more vicious and cowardly. The Internet and social media create an outlet for cyberbullies to hide behind technology and unleash unprovoked hatred toward their victims.
According to bullyingstatistics.org, more than 1 in 3 young people have experienced cyber threats online. According to crisistextline.org, harassment and bullying have been linked to 75 percent of school-shooting incidents, and 70 percent of students report seeing frequent bullying online.
More must be done to counteract cyberbullying, and we want to start with our own campus.
Treat people with respect. Remember that everyone is unique. And no one has the right to impose their beliefs on someone else.
Also, think about who can see what you post online. Use privacy settings to ensure only family and friends can see profile pages. This allows online users to be in control.
If you witness an act of online bullying, don’t sit idly by. Be proactive and stick up for whoever is being targeted – even a small act of solidarity goes a long way. Become a united front and let the person behind the screen know it is not OK to bully anyone.
We encourage students who believe they are being cyberbullied to visit the Health and Wellness Center and get the help they need.
Finally, we have a message for students who have experienced cyberbullying: remember that there are more people here who want to help you than hurt you. And we at The Gatepost certainly have your back.