ullying isn’t a new thing in society, but it has takes different forms over the years. Earlier, bullies used to push others around, harass them at the cafeteria or in the classrooms, seize their victim’s possessions and even hit them. After graduating, we thought that part of life was over for good, but then came the internet and with it a better way to connect with people, thus, an unexpected opportunity for a new kind of bullying–cyber bullying.
Millions of people sit behind their keypads on a daily basis to wage a digital war. They humiliate, mock, harass, and even threaten people through the use of technology. It is done deliberately with the intention of hurting others. On many occasions, these cyber bullies get the cheering of fellow internet users who hail them and call them “savage”. This rapid acceptance of cyber bullying, especially when you’re not the victim, is extremely toxic and can affect the victim’s self esteem leading to feelings of depression, anxiety and in extreme cases suicide.
Social media creates great opportunities for us whether as individuals, professionals or entrepreneurs. It widens our reach and bridges the gap that would have existed offline, thus creating new paths for us to become better versions of ourselves. With such great benefits associated with the internet, it wouldn’t be great if cyber bullying robs you off them. While you have no control over what the next person chooses to do with their internet access, you have control over what you do with yours and how you react to them. There’re ways to handle cyber bullying and the earlier you learn how to, the better.
Note: You might not be a victim of cyber bullying but that’s not enough to turn a blind eye. A loved one might need your help. Knowledge is key.
Why cyber bullying could be worse than in-person bullying
- Sometimes written words hit different because they’re more permanent. If deleting the comments is not feasible, (maybe in a chat group and you’re not the admin), the victim could end up regurgitating those words.
- There are more people available to witness cyber bullying as opposed to in-person where just a few people might witness it, hence cyber bulling can bruise deeper.
- Sometimes, it’s hard to access the culprit because some of these trolls hide behind fake accounts while others are total strangers with undisclosed locations.
- The “victim” might have misinterpreted the tone of the message and assumed wrongly.
Here are 6 practical and easy ways anyone can handle cyber bulling…
#1. Don’t believe them
Remember, those comments are only an opinion, so treat it as such. The magic is to sharpen your overlooking game by convincing yourself that their opinion isn’t necessarily correct. You need to understand that anyone who chooses to deliberately bully someone on the internet or anywhere else needs help and is dealing with issues. Rather than deal with it, they choose to take it out on others. Knowing that everyone is entitled to their opinion and that you don’t have to believe them is an integral part of handling cyber bullying.
#2. Don’t fight back, cyber bullying is a trap
The secret of bullying is to get a reaction from you. These bullies derive pleasure in aggravating their victims and watching them go off. Don’t fall into the trap of engaging them in a word battle, you’ll only go bunkers attacking everyone who attacks you. No response is a response. However, if you MUST say something, then you have the option to tell them to stop because it’s important to have them know that you will no longer accept such behavior.
#3. Stop soaking up those harmful comments
The art of soaking is reliving something over and over until they become a part of you and you become deeply intertwined with it. When you keep revisiting those hurtful comments, anger would eventually well up inside you. Delete the comments if you can. Also, if it’s an unrepentant and habitual bully, the block button still works, use it. However, if you can’t control these features, call the attention of the group administrator. Finally, you can leave the group if measures aren’t taken by the administrator to regulate cyber bullying on their platform.
#4. Seek support
Initially, it may not appear so, but overtime cyber bullying can have a negative effect on your mind. Talking to someone helpful about it can take the burden off you. It helps you put things in perspective and also realize that it’s not exclusive to you. Also you’ll greatly benefit when yo realize that it’s not your fault and some humans are just mean. Talking to someone is particularly expedient for your mental health, don’t under estimate it.
#5. Gather some evidence in case you need to report cyber bullying
Sometimes, cyber bulling goes beyond common words and escalates to a real threat, stalking, and even harm. When you begin to get vibes you’re not comfortable with, then report that bully to the appropriate authorities. Now is the time to wear those C. I. A gloves and start gathering evidence. Take screenshots of the bully’s posts including the account name, date and time. Don’t forget to screenshot the threats (if any), and save it all in a folder. You can start from reporting to the sites and/or the police depending on the gravity of the situation.
#6. Take a break off social media
Technology can sometimes steal precious moments from us. We become absent with our loved ones as we get trapped inside the quicksand of the internet. It is totally healthy to turn off your gadgets and bask in a life void of technology. Watch TV, have lunch uninterrupted either alone or with a loved one(s), soak yourself up in a bath tub. It won’t hurt to get rid of all that negativity and remind yourself of who you are.
You are a boss and nobody should make you feel lesser just because they can afford to pay their internet bills, stay online, and throw daggers of words at anyone from their small corner.
It is mere wishful thinking to wallow in self pity and hope that everyone would be nice to you. As long as we thread upon the face of this earth there will always be mean people. Take the power off cyber bullying by learning how to handle it and put those cyber bullies in check. Bye Felicia!!!
Featured image: Yan Krukov | Pexels
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