Hatred On the Net: What You Can Do About Cyberbullying

When I was in seventh grade, I was a cyberbully. Oh, I didn’t mean to be—if you had asked me how I behaved on Nameberry, my then-favorite forum, I would say that I tried my best to be a positive influence. I may have even told you that most other users were the toxic ones. This wasn’t a complete lie; there were members of the site who were downright rude. But, with three years away from the site, I can see that I was a problem, as well.

Why am I writing this? It’s not for attention, or to condemn the site. I merely aim to educate others so that they can avoid falling into the same mental traps that I did.

How do I know if I’m being a cyberbully?

  • You lash out at people you believe are in the wrong. In other words, you fight fire with fire.
  • Other users stop replying to your posts, or seem annoyed when you comment.
  • They overtly express hurt at what you post.

How do I know if I’m being cyberbullied?

  1. You  get less enjoyment out of the Internet than usual.
  2. You dread seeing a  certain user’s activity for fear that they’ll say something hurtful.

What can I do in either of these situations?

  • Apologize to anyone you’ve wronged.
  • Talk to a trusted adult in real life.
  • If the problem is pervasive, then consider leaving the site altogether. I hope you never have to deal with cyberbullying, but if you do, remember these tips.

My short story, "Sing A New Song," will be published in Planted Word magazine July, 2017. I'm so excited!

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