Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Jasmine from IL, IL. Jasmine Wonders, “What is cyberbullying?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Jasmine!

We were enjoying a relaxing day on the Wonderopolis farm the other day when we happened upon a sheep crying outside the barn:

Cow: What's wrong little sheep?

Sheep: I got stuck outside while it was raining and now all my wool is shrinking. I look ridiculous, and the other animals are making fun of me.

Cow: You look fine to me. I haven't heard anyone saying anything about you.

Sheep: They won't say anything to my face, but they all took pictures and now they're posting about it.

Cow: Really? Where? I'll ask around. Spider, what's going on here? Is this true?

Spider: I don't know. Let me check the web. Hmm…it looks like the goat uploaded a pic to InstaGoat, the ferret posted about it on FerretBook, and several of the birds tweeted about it.

Cow: That's not right. Don't worry little sheep. I'll talk to them. They don't want to have a beef with me!

We were glad that the cow stood up for the little sheep, but it worried us that such an unfortunate event had occurred on the farm. Thanks to the Internet, it appears that there's no place that's completely safe from the threat of cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying occurs when people use technology to bully someone. This can take the form of embarrassment, harassment, threats, or other forms of negative behavior targeted at specific people.

Given the wide variety of electronic devices, websites, apps, and social media outlets that exist today, cyberbullying comes in many forms. Texts, messages, posts, status updates, tweets, and uploaded pictures and videos are all potential tools cyberbullies use to hurt others.

Sometimes cyberbullying can be perpetuated unintentionally. Simply sharing a meme you find funny might hurt someone's feelings if they're the subject of or otherwise targeted by the meme.

Cyberbullying has grown as a problem with the rise of technology. Since technology often allows users to do things anonymously — or at least not in person — some people who might not bully someone in person might feel empowered to do so online.

To prevent cyberbullying, it's important for people to treat online behavior just like they would in-person behavior. Think about what you post and upload. How might it affect others? Would you do or say these same things in person? If not, don't do it online.

Due to the nature of technology, much of what gets shared online never truly goes away. For this reason, the effects of cyberbullying can be much more severe and lasting than bullying that occurs in person. Victims of cyberbullying might never know how widespread the damage is. Can the subject of a mean meme ever know how many times it has been seen if it goes viral?

If you or someone you know is being cyberbullied, what can you do to help? According to most experts, the first thing to do is tell an adult you trust. Speaking up and finding someone to help you can prevent cyberbullying from escalating into an even bigger problem.

While you allow adults to handle the incidents of cyberbullying you've identified, concentrate on your own reactions to them. It's best to ignore such incidents, refusing to respond or retaliate in any way that could simply make things worse.

Beyond dealing with specific instances of cyberbullying, choose to be a positive influence online. Share only appropriate photos, videos, and memes, Make only positive comments. Build people up rather than tear them down. Your positive influence can go a long ways toward showing others how to behave appropriately online!

Wonder What's Next?

Speak up! Tomorrow’s Wonder of the Day features a little jibber and a whole lot of jabber!