Miss Oregon USA 2018

Toneata Morgan, Miss Oregon USA 2018

Contributed photo

Bullying has been around since the beginning of man, but with the advent of the Internet and smartphones, it has been taken to a new level. Now bullies can harass you anonymously, which makes it much tougher to defend yourself.

What is cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is online harassment, threatening, or bullying. As technology expands and becomes more popular, cyberbullying is becoming more and more common as increasing numbers of youth are constantly immersed in online interactivity. As Miss Oregon USA 2018, I seek to raise more awareness of the problem of cyberbullying, and to work with others to find ways to help stop this increasing problem for children teens and others.

A recent study by the Pediatric Academic Societies has determined there are more than twice as many kids and teens admitted to hospitals for suicide related reasons than a decade ago. The National Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report from last November found the suicide rate for kids 10 to 14 years old doubled from 2007 to 2014. What is going on? Many say the cause is cyberbullying.

What are the consequences?

I was shocked to read about a 12-year-old girl, Mallory, who killed herself this last June due to cyberbullying from her school classmates. They used smartphones to harass her for months, with texts, Snapchat and Instagram, telling her she was a loser and should kill herself. So sad … and so young.

Say NO to cyberbullying:

I first became aware of cyberbullying by experiencing it firsthand. In dealing with that, I learned there are many resources for help, and useful ideas for dealing with it.

1) First, block the bully.

2) Manage your emotions. Don’t give the bully the time of day and reply. (The bully wants a reaction. Don’t fall into his/her trap.)

3) Next, don’t delete the message before printing or saving a copy. That way, if it keeps up, you will have evidence for reporting the bully to the authorities.

4) Always practice good online security so the bully/hacker cannot get access to your personal information. Change your passwords. Don’t use the same passwords for every log in information. Search your name often to make sure nobody is using your identity. Add extra security features, such as, receiving a text on your phone or an email alert when logging into a new account.

5) Keep a positive attitude. Don’t let the bullies get you down.

6) Understand you are valued, you are royalty, and you matter.

We all need to publicize and examine the serious and ever-increasing problem of cyberbullying. By raising awareness, we can combat it together.

(Toneata Morgan, Miss Oregon USA 2018, will represent the state at the national Miss USA pageant next spring.)