Bullying isn’t a new thing in society, but it has taken different forms over the years. Earlier, bullies used to push others around, harass them in the cafeteria or 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 — cyberbullying.
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 cyberbullies get the cheering of fellow internet users who hail them by calling them “savage.” This rapid acceptance of cyberbullying, 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 cyberbullying robs you of 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 cyberbullying and the earlier you learn how to, the better.
Note: You might not be a victim of cyberbullying but that’s not enough to turn a blind eye. A loved one might need your help. Knowledge is key.
Why cyberbullying could be worse than in-person bullying
- Sometimes written words hit differently 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 cyberbullying as opposed to in person where just a few people might witness it, hence cyberbullying 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.
Here are 7 practical and effective ways to handle cyberbullying…
#1. Don’t believe them
Remember those comments are only an opinion, so treat them 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 one of the most effective ways to handle cyberbullying.
#2. Don’t fight back, cyberbullying 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 that they know you don’t appreciate such behavior.
#3. Stop soaking up the words
The art of soaking is reliving something over and over until it deeply intertwines with you. When you keep revisiting those hurtful comments, anger would eventually well up inside. 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. Additionally, you can leave the group if measures aren’t taken by the administrator to regulate cyberbullying on their platform.
#4. Seek support
Initially, it may not appear so, but over time cyberbullying 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 you 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 underestimate it.
#5. Gather some evidence in case you need to report cyberbullying
Sometimes, cyberbullying 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 CIA 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 them all in a folder. You can start by reporting to the sites and/or the police depending on the gravity of the situation.
#6. Go private
If things are looking sour, then go private on social media and don’t accept follow requests from anybody you don’t know offline. This is an easy way to combat cyberbullying as your online space will only be an intimate circle. After all, you wouldn’t talk to random people on the street, so why do it online?
#7. Take a break from social media
Technology can sometimes steal precious moments from us. We become absent from 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, or perhaps, soak yourself in a bathtub. It won’t hurt to get rid of all that negativity and remind yourself of who you are and that you are loved.
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 tread upon the face of this planet, there will always be mean people. Take the power off cyberbullying by learning how to handle it and put those cyberbullies in check. Bye, Felicia!!!
Featured image: fedrelena/iStock
For the latest in fashion, lifestyle, and culture, follow us on Instagram @StyleRave_
A creative writer with a voracious appetite for fashion, beauty, lifestyle and culture. As one who's passionate about the advancement of the woman, creating content that inspire smart style and living, and positive lifestyle changes is a calling I take seriously. At Style Rave, we aim to inspire our readers by providing engaging content to not just entertain but to inform and empower you as you ASPIRE to become more stylish, live smarter and be healthier. Follow us on Instagram @StyleRave_ ♥