Cyber bullying is a sad reality of our time and if you regularly communicate or publish on the Internet sooner or later you have to deal with cyber bullying. The good thing about the Internet is that it allows us to communicate our opinions and thoughts immediately without having to deal with expensive phone bills or travel long distances. Just a few keystrokes and there you are with all your verbal glory. This also gives a free hand to those who don’t care much about others’ feelings and just want to cause trouble and make the others feel uneasy. Just like there are bullies in the real world we have plenty of bullies in the cyber world.
Cyber bullying normally manifests on blogs, social networking and social media websites and online forums. Anybody can be a target of cyber bullies. Recently a journalist tracked down some obnoxious commenters on his blog and personally asked them why they indulged in such facts, and as is normally the case with bullies, most of them were extremely scared that they had been found.
Different forms of cyber bullying
Some cyber bullying can be mild and some can be really vicious. For example, somebody can start a blog on you writing hateful things about you. He or she may also publish photographs with really filthy messages on them. They can also take portions from various videos and create something totally offending and post it on YouTube. They sometimes also launch Facebook pages targeting celebrities, players, writers, politicians, etc.
Dealing with cyber bullies
- Don’t react to cyber bullying: Most of the bullies thrive on the victim’s response. They are craving for attention whether it is positive or negative. Since they don’t have much self-respect they are not bothered with what people think of them. Besides on the Internet, the anonymity factor shields these bullies from direct response. So in most of the cases it is best not to react and also advise the others within your reach not to react. According to recent studies 70% of cyber bullies stop posting hateful messages if they don’t see a response.
- Don’t share your private information with everybody: Surprisingly people still openly share their phone numbers, their locations and other private stuff all over the Internet without considering the implications. Anybody can use your phone number to send you offending text messages or give you threatening calls. Share your private information only with your family and close friends.
- Report cyber bullying: For instance if there is a hate page on Facebook you can report it and get it shut down. Similarly if you interact on an online forum and if you feel you are being targeted by a cyber bully you can report him or her to the administrator and get him or her blocked. If somebody is leaving offending comments on your blog you can block that person using your blog’s IP address blocking features.
- Use your spam filter: If somebody is sending you offending e-mails mark those e-mails as spam so that they are automatically redirected to your spam folder.
- Talk to people you have confidence in: If you are a teenager or a minor you can immediately report the incidents of cyber bullying to your parents, your counselor or even elder siblings. It’s not shameful to be targeted by cyber bullies and it is not a sign of weakness on your part. Anybody can be a target of bullies. It’s as simple as reporting a crime.
- Closely observe your kids as a parent: There are very definite signs if your kid is being targeted by cyber bullies. He or she may seem extraordinarily withdrawn, may avoid using the Internet for long durations or may keep on checking messages with alarming frequency and may also show violent tendencies himself or herself. Assure them that you’re not going to cut off their Internet access because of somebody else’s behavior.
- Report the matter to proper authorities: Sometimes cyber bullying can metamorphose into something more sinister, something more criminal and it is not advised to ignore such behavior. Approach the cyber crime agency in your city and report the matter immediately.
Dealing with cyber bullies is almost similar to dealing with the real world bullies that you may encounter in your school, college or office. Every situation is unique and you have to use your judgement. But there is one thing that you can always take care of: there should be open, ongoing communication between you, your close friends and family members.