Pride Month is about connecting with and showing support for people in the LGBTQ+ community. It’s also about standing up and protecting those we care for, so today we’re talking about cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying is bullying that happens online. It can happen in a text message, an online game, or on social media. It might involve trolling, rumors, or images posted on social media or passed around for other people to see. Bullying often makes the person being harassed feel bad — and it makes the bully look bad.
This is something that many LGBTQ+ kids know something about. In fact, a 2017 CDC study showed that more LGBTQ+ students reported having been bullied or cyberbullied than their hetero peers — but they were less likely to report it. And the consequences can be dire.
So: if you or someone you know is considering suicide for any reason, including bullying, don’t wait. The Trevor Project has help lines (phone, chat, and text) to help LGBTQ+ youth. Or call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-8255.
If you or someone you know are the target of cyberbullying, here are some ideas to consider.
If you see someone being bullied, send them a message.
Tell them what’s happening is not ok.
Ask them how they’re doing and how you can help. Offer to talk, online or in person.
Say something positive and kind.
Tell the bully to stop. If you know the person who is doing the cyberbullying, tell them to knock it off. Mean behavior usually stops pretty quickly when somebody stands up for the person being bullied. Saying something is important because staying silent is basically telling the bully it’s ok to do it.
If you’re being bullied, block the person, take a screenshot and save the evidence. Don’t respond to harassing messages. Then talk to a trusted friend or adult and report the incidents to the social media platform.
No one should have to tolerate cyberbullying and we all have a responsibility to each other. Check out stopbullying.gov, a site from the Department of Health and Human Services for more information on how to confront cyberbullying.