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?
- You get less enjoyment out of the Internet than usual.
- 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.