“Cyberbullying,” Ensign, Aug. 2013, 39
Recent Internet trends have shown that cyberbullying—the use of technology such as cell phones, computers, social media, and websites to humiliate another person—has proliferated. Statistics estimate that 42 percent of young children and teenagers have been bullied online.1 Whereas children could traditionally find in their homes a safe haven from bullies, “today’s bullies use technology to spread rumors and threats, making life miserable for their victims throughout the day and night.”2 And the shroud of Internet anonymity allows bullies to harass their targets almost without repercussions.
Counsel from an Apostle
Elder Quentin L. Cook of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles has taught against all forms of cyberbullying:
“One of your greatest protections against making bad choices is to not put on any mask of anonymity. If you ever find yourself wanting to do so, please know it is a serious sign of danger and one of the adversary’s tools to get you to do something you should not do. …
“… It is common today to hide one’s identity when writing hateful, vitriolic, bigoted communications anonymously online. …
“Any use of the Internet to bully, destroy a reputation, or place a person in a bad light is reprehensible. What we are seeing in society is that when people wear the mask of anonymity, they are more likely to engage in this kind of conduct, which is so destructive of civil discourse. It also violates the basic principles the Savior taught.”3
What to Do
If you are a parent, consider counseling with your children and writing a family agreement that sets rules for how you use the Internet in your home. Use the guidelines found in the “Entertainment and Media” section of the For the Strength of Youth booklet. Discuss the following as a family:
Where children can go on the Internet and what they can do.
How much time they can spend on the Internet.
What to do if anything makes them uncomfortable.
How to protect personal information.