By Rita Isabella on Wed Jun 03 2020

Cyber bullying is the act of someone using technology to harass, threaten and embarrass another person, usually a target. This is like an upgraded version of physical bullying; the only difference is that it happens behind a computer and more often than not the bully may not be known to you, is someone you know personally or is a person you know but is hiding behind a pseudonym and account. In schools cyber-bullying is more rampant because most students have access to laptops, phones and well the internet; hence a much needed discussion is needed. Below we provide information on types of cyber-bullying and how to deal with it.

Types of cyber-bullying include harassing and threatening someone via text, instant messaging and also via email. Cyberbullies can choose to act alone or gang up on their victim; they do this by posting rumors, leak private photos on social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. Another form is impersonating someone online and using the impersonation to post hurtful and rude content pretending to be the victim and stealing or hacking their passwords and changing their profile to include content that is inappropriate, racist or even sexual, thus subjecting the victim to further online attacks.

Some bullies can go further and take sensitive photos of their victims in school environments such as nude pictures in a locker room without their permission and posting it online. They may use this as leverage by threatening to post them online to get the victim do their bidding and embarrassing them further. Students sometimes go to the extent of creating blogs, polls to spread rumors, lies and gossip about their victims which leads to them being humiliating them. There are of course more forms of cyber-bullying out there than we have mentioned, but the tips we are sharing below generally covers cyber-bullying as a whole and can be used to counter any form you might be experiencing.

1. Don’t respond

Cyberbullies want you to respond, it is the reason behind the attack. By responding you give them the satisfaction they want and encourage them to actually solicit more reaction from you. Once you come across a cyberbully especially on social media platforms, you can choose to delete the offensive comment and take time off social media for like say an hour or more. This will give you time to assess the situation , process how you feel about then from there you can log back in and choose whether to report the cyberbully, an option is to even turn off commenting for your post or deleting it all together just for your piece of mind.

2. In case you do choose to respond

Go about it gracefully, don’t bully the bully back or start an argument. You could choose to explain your point of view if your post was about an opinion or you can offer to talk to them about why they responded the way they did. Starting online arguments won’t help, if it is someone known personally to you, offer to meet up with them and talk about how they feel, more often you can go about it in such a way that the bully won’t even know that you have perceived their reaction as cyber-bullying, this is an amicable way to solve the problem without having to escalate further.

3. Take screenshots.

This will serve as evidence of cyber-bullying. It’s the one great thing with phones and evolving technology, you can show this to someone who might help take action against the bullies, they could be your guidance and counselor at school, a teacher you trust, your parents or even the police, so never fail to take screenshots immediately you are cyber-bullied especially because the bully can delete their post, comment or reaction.

4. Talk to someone about it.

Talking to someone when going through cyber-bullying will help you assess the situation better, if it is a guardian, they can help you process the whole situation and give you suggestions on how to deal with it. Talking to someone will also help you convey how you feel about being bullied and they offer the support you need for reassurance and emotional support, it will help take your mind off things and let you cool down and not dwell on the bullies, thus making you feel better about yourself.

5. Report offensive posts

Social media platforms such as Instagram and Facebook have options that enable you to report offensive posts. These are meant for instances of cyber-bullying, reporting the post will allow the social platform involved to pull down the post, suspending the attackers account which in turn will prevent cyberbullies from posting further, they might even help you bring the bully to face consequences especially if the post was insinuating threats on you the victim. You can actually rally up people to mass report a bully’s account severally thus making it more effective in reaching out to the social media platform involved and getting them to take action more quickly.

6. Make your platforms private.

This is a form of protective measure against cyberbullies. If you are private, you get more control on who follows you and has access to your social media activities. Only connect with people known personally to you on social media thus preventing strangers from bullying you, after all you don’t talk to people you do not know in the streets so why talk to someone you do not online, especially since they are acting behind a computer. Instagram even allows you to remove people who you do not want to follow you from your followers list making your accounts private further allows you to protect yourself from online hackers thus keeping your account safe.

7. Take action if you see someone is being bullied.

Reaching out to cyber-bullying victims, is a great way of putting a stop to it. You can help them out by defending them against the bully, reporting the bullies’ posts or even sharing with them tips on how to deal with cyberbullies. Offering them support assures them they are not alone and can actually talk to someone about it. If they are known to you personally like if you go to the same school, help them talk to a teacher or their guardian about it.

8. Sympathize.

Most online bullies are people, who attack others just to get attention or make them feel better. They might be going through something in their lives and choose cyber-bullying as a distraction, you can always reach out to them and get them to talk about what they are going through and even help them get help. Don’t be a bully too; always take the choice of being the better person.

With these few tips, you can share with friends on how to deal with cyberbullies, a pro tip is to always ensure you take time off social media and increase the time you are offline. This will help you in keeping away from online negativity and will be great for your mental health as well. Let us know below on other ways we can help stop cyberbullies further.

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