Dear American Girl,
There's a new girl at our school, and I've been getting to know her better. A couple of weeks ago, she asked for my e-mail address and I gave it to her. Now she's sending me mean e-mails that upset me. It feels a lot like bullying, but I thought we were becoming friends. What should I do?
Here's your advice:
Being friends with this girl doesn't matter—she is cyberbullying you. A true friend wouldn't send these mean e-mails.
-Peyton, age 11, Ohio
Show the e-mails to your parents. Remember, it's not tattling when you're trying to protect yourself.
-Gracie, age 12, Tennessee
Talk to this girl about the e-mails. She might not realize that her words are hurting you. Perhaps this is her way of trying to be "funny." If she ends up being unkind to you at school, too, then it's time to talk to a teacher or parent.
-Julie, age 10, New Jersey
These e-mails must be very upsetting to you. Don't send mean e-mails back—that'll only make things worse. If you send an e-mail, she can forward it to other people or accuse you of being a bully.
-Ellie, age 9, North Carolina
Print out the e-mails from this girl (just in case they get lost or deleted). That way, you can show them to an adult. It also might be a good idea to get a new e-mail address.
-Mollie, age 12, Texas
I would ask her why she's sending these mean e-mails. Maybe she's shy in public but feels bold enough to say these things online. I have a couple friends who tend to be more aggressive online.
-Natili, age 11, Texas
Ask a parent to help you block this girl from being able to send you e-mails.
-Maileia, age 12, Florida
Talk to this girl about how you feel (in person, not in an e-mail). You shouldn't have to deal with her unkindness just because she's the new girl. Tell her how much these e-mails upset you. If she wants to be your friend, she'll understand and stop immediately.
-Abigail, age 11, New Jersey
The next time you get an upsetting e-mail, take a deep breath, walk away from the computer, and tell a parent.
-Abigail, age 10, North Carolina
Remember—even friends can turn out to be bullies.
-Beth, age 12, Virginia
Ask her why she is treating you this way. Maybe she is upset about something and is taking her anger out on you. Talk to her and try to get to the root of the problem.
-Aditi, age 10, New Jersey
Tell this girl that you gave her your e-mail address only so that she could send you fun, happy things―not mean words.
-Alie, age 11, New York
There's a possibility that this girl really is a bully—she may have been pretending to be nice to you so that you would give her your e-mail address. It's an honest mistake, and you shouldn't feel bad. But this might help you be choosier about your friends from now on.
-An American Girl fan, age 10, Texas
This girl doesn't sound like a good friend. Ignore her and try to forget about those e-mails. Tell yourself, If she wants to bully me, that's her problem, not mine.
-Emma, age 11, Massachusetts
When you're at school, watch how this girl acts around other people. Is she nice? Or is she a bully to others? If she's being mean to just you, she might be trying to make you a target. Ask a parent to help you put a stop to these e-mails right away.
-Sabrina, age 9, Ohio
Confront this girl. Say, "I thought we were becoming friends—why are you sending these hurtful e-mails?" Say it in person, not in an e-mail. When you put things in writing, you can never take your words back, and messages can be misinterpreted.
-Paige, age 11, Washington
Think of this situation as a lesson. In the future, think twice before you give personal information to someone you don't know very well.
-Lexi, age 13, New Mexico
Don't let this girl get to you. You are a great girl who deserves to be treated with respect. Tell an adult, and until this problem clears up, don't check your e-mail. You don't deserve to see nasty comments in your inbox.
-An American Girl fan, age 10, Kentucky