Abby Fox wrote, “Cyber-bullying is using technology, such as the internet or text messaging, to post hateful material about another. If you’re being cyber bullied, tell an adult or someone you trust. Don’t keep it inside. Don’t give in to cyber bullying. Stand up to it.”
The National Autism Association writes, “Research shows children with disabilities are two to three times more likely be bullied than their non-disabled peers.”
This is a wonderful article on bullying with a section on cyber bullying, “A growing area for bullying is cyber-bullying in which Facebook, email, Twitter, and other forms of social media are used to spread unkind and often untruthful information about students. While social networking can be a great resource to connect people; it can and has been used in a harmful manner to ostracize and exclude others.”
Kevin Healey, ambassador for the National Autistic Society wrote, “Bullying has always been a major problem in autism. And now the digital age has taken it to a new level, with people with the condition being the easy target of threats and insults through texts, emails and social media. It’s called cyberbullying. And it may not be physical, like traditional bullying, but the consequences can be as dire.”
“It’s important not to engage with abusers. Rather, use the ‘block’ option on social media sites and mobiles, and report the problem to the police. Keep a record of login dates and times, and take screenshots for evidence.”
I imagine for children, teens, or adults, taking charge to stop the bullying can be empowering. Schools are doing more and more to address the in-person or cyber-bullying. Unfortunately, some people commit suicide or think about suicide that can be attributed to bullying.
On the Pacer Center website, they write,
- There is a strong association between bullying and suicide-related behaviors, but this relationships is often mediated by other factors, including depression and delinquency (Hertz, Donato, and Wright, 2013).
- Youth victimized by their peers were 2.4 times more likely to report suicidal ideation and 3.3 times more likely to report a suicide attempt than youth who reported not being bullied (Espelage and Holt, 2013).
Cyber-bullying is a very important issue, for the effects, but also how easy it is to hide behind the internet to say things that an autistic person may never hear in person.
Here is a book, No More Victims: Protecting Those with Autism from Cyber Bullying, Internet Predators, and Scams, that may be helpful. I haven’t read the book myself, so I don’t know how good it is, but it’s probably worth the read.