APRIL 14, 2020: Bullying Online, Shame Longtime! Cyberbullying is a bigger problem than we think. There is a solution. ReThink About It… Before the Damage is Done!

Remember that Bullying isn’t only at school, it can be at a digital distance as well. Bullying is a form of ongoing targeted and intentional abuse by an individual or group. It can include name-calling, taunting, threats, spreading rumours, intentionally leaving someone out, or physical violence. Our previous posts about  #Lifteachotherup🚀 and #GetUpStandUp against bullying haven’t address what can happen virtually. Cyberbullying refers to any behaviour carried out by a group or individual through electronic devices or digital media to repeatedly post hurtful messages to others. Cyberbullying is a bigger problem than we think. There is a solution. ReThink about it…before the damage is done!

Trisha Prabhu was a 14-year-old student at Neuqua Valley High School in Naperville, Illinois when her research led her to create the digital platform Rethink, which won her a spot as a Google Science Fair 2014 Global Finalist. In 2013, Trisha heard about a young girl’s suicide due to bullying on the Internet and set out to find a solution to cyber-bullying. From a young age, she has been fascinated with the inner workings of the brain. She invented this digital tool called ReThink that does one simple, elegant thing: it asks people before they send a hurtful message if they really want to say that. And most people, it turns out, say: well, actually, no. Hear the story of this clever invention.

Rethink gives adolescents who are trying to post an offensive message on social media a second chance to reconsider their decision. Trisha’s digital application won first prize at the PowerPitch Competition, Chicago’s technology and entrepreneurial hub. Rethink is an award-winning, innovative, nonintrusive, patented technology that effectively detects and stops online hate before the damage is done. Online bullying has real-world consequences, and young software engineer Trisha Prabhu saw a way to help by designing a long-term effective solution to stop cyberbullying. With more than 120,000 downloads, it has given students a second chance before they send hateful messages.

Cyberbullying includes behaviours like sending hurtful content or demeaning others over text, email or social media. As Trisha learned, the effects of bullying can have long-lasting negative impacts on the targeted person’s mental and physical health. When young people experience bullying, it can lead to anxiety, depression, low self-esteem and a higher risk of suicide. Cyber-victimization refers to individuals or groups being a target of online aggression and is very common at least one in three adolescents in Canada have reported being subjected to online bullying. Learn about 10 common forms of cyberbullying in the following video and put a stop to it!

We can provide a safer way for students to explore their digital world. An incredible form is to empower them to speak out! The creation of the powerful message ‘Create No Hate’ by Luke Culhane is an inspirational story of taking a stand against cyberbullying. Luke was motivated to create a film after being a victim of cyberbullying himself. He understood first hand the impact it can have on a young persons’ self-esteem. He wanted to do something to speak out against it and did it through a medium that he is passionate about such as filmmaking. Watch the viral short-film that Luke Culhane produced, entitled ‘Cyberbullying – Create No Hate’ and play your part by using STOP, BLOCK & TELL!

Long-time ago, stories were told the old way, face to face. These days technology has changed the way Indigenous communities share and tell their stories. The rise of digital media as a form of communications has also allowed discrimination and hatred to run wild. Using culturally relevant educational resources can help Indigenous students improve their online experiences. The following Prezi talks about cyberbullying within an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander context: what it is, consequences for the community, strategies on how to deal with it and where to go to for help. We can apply their teachings to our own context and learn that bullying online = shame longtime.