Online bullying occurs most often through social media sites, such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and TikTok. We live in a time where a large portion of our everyday encounters with people are online – in a virtual environment where contact speed is crucial and entertainment value is important, if not essential. The Internet has allowed us to cross time and space barriers, allowing for instant access, response, and sharing of information. Everyone is no longer just a consumer of information, but also a producer.
Online abuse or cyber abuse can include:
- Posting pictures of someone without their consent.
- Sending messages via a chat app or email.
- Leaving somebody out of group chats or using group chats to harass someone.
- Posting from someone else’s social media account without permission or making forged accounts.
- Leaving inadequate comments on someone’s social media pages.
How to Deal with a Bully:
There is no easy solution to bullying or cyberbullying, and there is no foolproof way to deal with the harassment. This general ease of instant communication is often exploited by people who lack good intentions people who are reckless, thoughtless, arrogant, dissatisfied with themselves, culturally unconscious, haphazard, self-centered, biased, or simply mean-spirited.
Don’t blame yourself for bullying; this isn’t your problem. It’s the bully’s problem; it’s their lack of self-esteem that they project onto others, either verbally or physically. No matter what the bully does or does, you should not be afraid of who you are or what you believe. The bully is the one with the problem, not you.
- Try to interpret the abuse from a different angle. The bully is a frustrated, irritated person who needs to manipulate your emotions to make you feel as bad as they do. Don’t owe them pleasure for that.
- Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t make the abuse situation harder by dwelling on it by reading cyberbullying comments over and over. Instead, erase all messages and concentrate on the good experiences of your life. There are so many great things about you that make you proud of who you are.
- Confront the bullies. Tell them you know what they’re doing. Warn them that what they’re doing is unfair. Don’t be afraid to get in touch with them. They might even be surprised if you dare speak up. By sending them a personal message, you make yourself appear like a real human who can be upset and experience pain and less like a virtual person who they believe does not really matter. But do not send a hateful message of vulgarity, curses, and threats. You can’t fight hatred with hatred.
- Don’t seek revenge for a cyberbully by being a cyberbully yourself. Again, it would only make the situation harder and may have serious legal consequences for you. If you wouldn’t say it in-person, don’t say it online.
- Report danger attacks and unwanted sexual messages to the police. In certain cases, cyberbully acts can be punished by statute.
Tips for parents and teachers to stop bullying or cyberbullying:
No matter how much discomfort it creates, kids are always hesitant to tell parents or teachers about abuse because they feel a sense of guilt from being victimized. In the case of cyberbullying, they might even be fearful of losing their device rights. Bullies often appear to be adept at shielding their actions from adults, but if a child is bullied, it might not be apparent to a parent or teacher. It is also necessary to understand the warning signs of abuse and cyberbullying.
- Use parental control software on your child’s smartphone or tablet and set up filters on your child’s computer to remove improper web content and help you track some of their online activities.
- Limit access to your child’s mobile records. Any telecom carriers allow you to turn off text message services after a matter of hours.
- Ensure that you know your child’s passwords and learn the typical acronyms that children use online, in social media, and in text messages.
- Know who your child is interacting with online. Go via your child’s address book and social media connections. Ask yourself who each person is and how your child knows them.
- Encourage your child to inform you or another trustworthy adult if they receive abusive texts or are otherwise threatened by cyberbullies, and promise them that doing so would not result in their loss of device privileges.
Every social media provides different tools that allow you to limit who can comment or share your posts, or who can automatically interact as a contact, and report cases of harassment. Many of them require easy measures to block, mute, or track cyber-bullying.
Social media companies also offer instructional resources and guidance for youngsters, parents, and teachers to learn about risks and how to stay safe online.
Even, you might be the first line of cyberbullying security. Think of where cyberbullying is going to happen in your culture, and how you can support it by lifting your voice, pointing out trolls, reaching out to a trustworthy adult.