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Stand Up to Bullying, Using Technology for Good

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

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For all the advancements and progress that we achieve as a society in today’s increasingly digital world, we often find ourselves lamenting whatever it is we think we’ve lost.

In the business world, such things are sometimes referred to, simply, as a “negative byproduct”, or an “unintended consequence”. If it’s something that happens, as a part of our everyday life, for most of us, we adjust, right? After all, one of these days maybe we’ll look back and laugh a little more at a time (before the Internet) when our phones were mostly mounted to a wall.

Unfortunately, bullying and, specifically, cyberbullying isn’t something that’s so easily explained and what we’ve lost is measured in how it impacts someone’s life and well-being. This is especially true, given the fact that someone can be bullied using a digital device, such as a phone or a computer, but it also happens over social media, in a text, an email, or instant messaging, or even when you’re online playing a video game.

That might be why, too, at a time when at least one-third of middle and high school students have reported being a victim of cyberbullying and, a recent study indicated that 30 percent of the adults surveyed said they were bullied at work, it’s more than a good bit of timing for us to take some time out of our day on Friday February 23rd for International Stand Up to Bullying Day.

What has become an event that is observed twice a year in 25 countries, it all began with a simple act of kindness. In 2007, two 12th graders – from the Canadian province of Nova Scotia – stood up for a fellow classmate after being picked on for wearing a pink shirt. Together, they purchased 50 pink shirts at a discount store and emailed their classmates asking them to wear the shirts to support the student who had been bullied. Not only did the students wear the shirts, but many others also joined in, by coming to school in their own pink clothes. By the following year, International Stand Up to Bullying Day had gone viral in many countries across the world.

Kind-hearted efforts, such as this, are needed, especially when you consider how much screen time most of us (not just teenagers and young adults) spend looking at our phones or mobile devices. Because of this, it’s easy to see why there’s never been a greater opportunity to go after someone with hundreds of calls or messages in just a matter of minutes or a few hours. Worse than that, the intensity of it all can be compounded, as evidenced by the fact that it’s not unusual for a group of people (of any age) to bully one person with tragic consequences.

To get started, is a great resource and if you or someone you know is being bullied, there are steps you can take to keep yourself and others safe from bullying. And whether you’re a kid, teenager, or an adult, the website includes information on what you can do.

If you have done everything you can to resolve the situation, the website features additional information to connect you or the person who is being impacted to talk with someone now.

You can call or text 988 to chat with Lifeline.  There are also resources for veterans and you can also find a counselor or other mental health services locally.

If you are being bullied online, there are also things you can do to help protect yourself, including:

  • Change your privacy settings.
  • Block (and un-friend) any harassing accounts, email addresses or phone numbers.
  • Keep your personal details private.
  • Take a break from your phone or computer.
  • Save harassing emails, texts, or messages.
  • Report bullying where it happens.
  • Tell an adult that you trust.
  • Don’t respond to mean or threatening messages.
  • Report any serious threats to the police.

Here in Indiana, you’ll find additional resources on the Indiana Cyber Hub, with links to trusted sources, such as CISA, Federal Trade Commission (FTC), and

Maybe if you think about, we can achieve a better outcome for connecting with one another, simply, by following the words of author Angelica Hopes, from The S. Trilogy, and “…always remember the three R’s of life – respect for self, respect for others, and responsibility for all (of) your actions”.