What is cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is the use of information technology—such as the Web, social networking sites, emails, text messaging or instant messaging—to threaten, harass or humiliate someone. Unlike conventional bullying, cyberbullying can follow victims anywhere, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and can reach themin places that are usually safe from the usual forms of harassment. (definition from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police).
More specifically, cyberbullying occurs when a computer, cell phone or tablet is used to send degrading, hateful, threatening or hurtful comments to one or more people on social networks, chat sites, blogs, messaging systems or any other online sites. Cyberbullying can also be carried out through identity theft, creating a website to harm someone, and sharing embarrassing photos or videos without the consent of those who are being targeted. Some of these acts are of a criminal nature and can lead to legal proceedings.
What can be done?
By a young person has been victimized:
- Talk to a trusted adult, such as a parent, teacher, counsellor or coach.
- If the cyberbullying involves other youths at school, report the behaviour to a counsellor at the school or at a local CLSC.
- Contact the community social worker who works in the neighbourhood.
- If legal action seems appropriate, file a complaint with the police.
- Do not respond to texts or messages from the cyberbully.
- Preserve any evidence of the cyberbullying.
By parents or other trusted adults in the child’s circle:
- If the situation involves youths in the same school as the victim, authorities at the school should be informed. Also, the bully should be denounced.
- In the company of the child, file a complaint with the police.
- Provide support to the child and, if necessary, seek help from a professional.
- Make sure the child does not reply to the cyberbully.
For more information:
- Cyberbullying - Service de police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM)
- Impacts and consequences of bullying and cyberbullying - Royal Canadian Mounted Police
- Kids Help Phone
- Sexual exploitation on the internet: Cybertip.ca
- Éducaloi (available in French only)
- Tel Jeunes (available in French only)
- Centre Cyber-aide (available in French only)
Cyberbullying can cause significant distress to a child. If you think your child is having suicidal thoughts, be sure to seek professional help for the child.
- Suicide Action Montréal Home page - Suicide Action Montreal - Prévention du suicide (Available in English)
- Info-social 811
- Contact your CLSC
Sources: SPVM and CISSS Montégérie Ouest sites