Cyberbullying According to Teens

Jennifer Johnson

Here at Troomi, we do everything possible to prevent your child from experiencing cyberbullying, and that means we do our best to understand it. So we reached out to some kids and teens to learn more about the problems and opportunities of tech from their perspective. We’ve been around kids long enough to know we can often learn from them as much as we teach them, and this was no different. We were struck by one insightful sixteen-year-old boy’s take on cyberbullying

He said:

“Stereotypical schoolyard bullies who beat up nerds and steal their lunch money don’t seem to exist anymore, and that’s wonderful. But bullies didn’t disappear—they have just changed. Now, rather than using brute force, they use words, both spoken and written. This is much more subtle, but I think it’s ultimately more destructive. 

“People have always said ‘Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.’ This is completely false. Words can sometimes hurt more than anything. Cyberbullying has become a huge problem, and if you were to ask anyone who has experienced it, I’m sure they’d tell you the damage that words have caused in their life. Words can cause pain. Words can cause depression. Words can cause suffering. But words can also be a source for good. Words can lead to hope. Words can lead to love. Words can lead to joy. All words have meaning and have a very real effect on other people. So watch what you say and type, use your words to help others, and don’t be a bully.”

This young man shares a few important points:

  1. “Bullies didn’t disappear—they have just changed.” We know this is true. Bullying may look different than it did twenty years ago, but it’s still there, lurking behind screens.
  2. “Words can sometimes hurt more than anything.” Cyberbullying, though not physically violent, can be more pervasive and harmful than physical bullying. 
  3. “Use your words to help others.” It’s really as simple as that, isn’t it? If we can teach our kids to build up—not tear down—with their words, they’ll be one more voice for good in the world.

Like we said: we do everything possible to prevent your child from experiencing cyberbullying. That means SafeListing contacts, email addresses, and websites and parental involvement every step of the way. Tech can be an empowering tool for kids, as long as we make it a safe space for them and help them learn healthy habits.