Can Cyberbullies Be Caught?

By Micah McDunnigan

Technology has made communication much more convenient in many ways -- but unfortunately, not all of them are positive. These days, a bully doesn't need to be physically close to his victims to torment them. Threatening email messages, abusive text messages at any hour of the day or night or fake social media profiles harassing you can make it feel like it's impossible to escape from nameless bullies. However, if you seek help, cyberbullies can be caught and stopped.

Tracking Cyberbullies

Cyberbullies may seem hidden behind anonymity when they torment their victims from afar, but the digital world keeps meticulous records. When a bully sends a text message, a carrier has a record of who is paying for the number's phone service; when bullies log into websites, those services record their IP address. When they send threatening emails, that email has IP address information in the header that leads right back to the sender.

Police Investigations

While private citizens don't necessarily have the authority to get all the information that could lead back to a cyberbully, the police do. Cyber crimes units have the technical prowess to track these digital trails and the authority to get IP addresses and the names of account holders. While some cyberbullies are more adept at using technologies to cover their tracks than others, a combination of cyber sleuthing and old-fashioned police work give the authorities a good chance of catching them.

Anti-Bullying Website Policies

Many major websites like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter do not tolerate cyberbullying or other abusive behaviors from their users. If you report these behaviors to the website's staff it gives them the opportunity to take action. This can take the form of formal warnings, an account suspension or even terminating the bully's account completely.

Don't Stay Silent

The only way cyberbullies can be uncatchable and unstoppable is if you stay silent when you are being cyberbullied. If parents or teachers don't know what's happening then no one will know to start looking. If you don't report bullies online then the websites won't know to close their accounts. Save what the bullies send you as evidence, then tell someone. Once you tell people that you're being bullied then parents, school officials and even the police can help make it stop.