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Never too late to reach out

Cyberbullying, a concept that has been around since the 1990’s, has increased by 70% since the start of the global pandemic. The web’s anonymity provides the perfect cover for users to harass or pester others without many repercussions. It is commonly assumed that cyber- bullying isn't as detrimental as in person bullying, but that’s not the case. And although a few states have created laws to try and decrease cyber-bullying, the wider-reaching effects can bevery damaging and sometimes even deadly. Not only that, but researchers have found a 40% increase in toxicity on online gaming platforms, as well as a 900% increase in hate speech onTwitter towards, China and the Chinese (statistics are referring to pandemic statistics). Kids aren't able to go out as much, so the only thing they can do, is go online. They spend more time on certain platforms like Twitter, Instagram, Tik Tok, and Snapchat. Although there are some benefits to using such apps, like quenching their boredom, it also gives them more time to dissect

certain individuals.

(Numbers before multiply it by 70% and that’s how much cyberbullying has skyrocketed.)

The Covid-19 pandemic is stressful, we all know that. And the situations we face every day cause children to lash out and create conflict with one another. The pandemic has got everyone on edge, and its universally known that when an individual is having a bad time...they release it on another person. Sherri Gordon in her article “Research Shows Rise in Cyberbullying During COVID-Pandemic” states: “Plus, popular website applications like Zoom have already come under fire when hackers infiltrated online business meetings with rude, hateful, and inappropriate comments. Consequently, if Zoom makes it easy for people to intrude on private conversations

and cyberbully others, there is certainly the growing possibility that kids are going to be using these resources and others in much the same way”. And the possibility has increased. The only way for teenagers to communicate with each other is by social media; and since they are know about hate and how it works...they start engaging in it too.

Even though cyberbullying is in fact harsh, there are many resources to use that can help kids dealing with it. For example, there is a non-profit organization named Bezzie that aims to create an enjoyable environment for kids globally during quarantine. Each volunteer will be

paired up with a kid and they will converse about their lives. Quarantine is jarring on everyone, but especially on kids because it boxes their imagination and communication skills. But with

Bezzie, they can speak freely. They can talk about their day and how they feel to someone who is not their family; and if they are being cyberbullied, the volunteers could try to help them through it. The volunteers could also help them with homework since online distance learning is considered much more difficult compared to in–school learning. Moreover, they are able to request watching movies or playing games. So, this non-profit builds a connection between

people all around the world. (To sign up to become a volunteer or to enroll your kids click here:

Never forget to stand up to yourself, you know your worth and you know you’re great.

Don’t let some person behind a screen bother you! If you need to talk to someone, first inform your parents and talk to these people in order, and if they don’t help move on to the next person:

1. Teacher

2. School counselor

3. School principal

4. School superintendent

5. State Department of Education

And if the situation gets worse to the extent of threatening or a life might be harmed call 911

Everyone can be helped and it's never too late to try!

Written by Rand Mudafr

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