Cyber bullying can happen anywhere at anytime. It used to be that victims of bullying could find solace at home, but with today’s technology, there’s truly no escaping it for the cyber bullying victims. Cyber bullying can take place anytime and anywhere. Cyber bullying can come in the following forms:
- Social Media–Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, blogs, and more
What qualifies as cyber bullying?
Cyber bullying is defined by stopbully.gov as communication via electronic devices (like those listed above) to harass, spread rumors, send mean texts, post embarrassing pictures, or create fake profiles on social media sites.
The trouble with cyber bullying
Cyber bullying can especially difficult to handle or deal with for the following reasons:
Today it is so easy to post online through fake or anonymous accounts. Obtaining an email address that cannot be traced back to the source is very simple and easy. Cyber bullies can hide behind anonymity making it hard for school administrators or even law enforcement to find the source. This makes it hard for the victim as s/he may question his/her friends and not know who s/he can trust.
- It spreads fast
Once something is posted online it can go anywhere and it can get there fast. Other people can repost something that is posted online in seconds. There is literally no way to account for how many eyes have seen the post. This makes it extremely hard and painful for the bullying victim who feels violated.
- Hard to stop
Once the victim recognizes a cyber bullying attack, it’s very difficult to delete pictures or posts from the internet. This leaves the victim feeling helpless.
The effects of cyber bullying
Cyber bullying victims experience embarrassment, humiliation, depression, anger, anxiety, and more. Cyber bullying can affect your self-esteem and even health. Be on the lookout for the following signs and be sure to seek help:
- You start withdrawing from spending time with family and friends
- You feel nervous (like butterflies in the stomach) when you receive text messages, emails, or log on to social media sites
- Your grades are dropping or you have lost interest in school
- You are avoiding activities you used to enjoy
If you are being bullied online:
Cyber bullying is a whole different monster than the bullying in the past. It can become very intense as it seems there is no escaping it and there is no relief. If you are the victim of cyber bullying here are a few hints to help deal:
- Report it
Most of the time cyber bullying breaks school handbook rules or even some discrimination and harassment laws.Depending on the kind of bullying, you should report to either your school or law enforcement. You should also report any incidents to the social media site that is being used. You may need to seek legal advice to know and understand your rights. For every incident of cyber bullying, do the following:
- Don’t reply
Leave any form or kind of cyber bullying alone. Do not reply to texts, tweets, and do not respond in any way to social media.
Save all texts or emails–print them if you are able. Print any screen shots from any social media sites where the bullying has taken place. Cyber bullying attacks are likely to go on for a sustained period of time, don’t give up. Continue saving evidence for each and every cyber bullying attack.
- Block the bully
Block the bully from your social media sites, email, and even phone. This won’t guarantee complete freedom from the bullying–the bully can do whatever s/he wants on his/her own profiles. This will, however, save you from dealing with the constant bullying and will allow you to take care of yourself with the rest of these tips.
- Try looking at it differently
It really is true that those creating unhappiness for others are unhappy themselves. While it is not an easy thing to deal with and cyber bullying victims have every right to report bullying cases, it is important to keep a level-mind. Those wrecking havoc on your life are doing so because of their own pain and unhappiness. Understanding that their intention is to make you feel as lousy as they do, make it your goal to leave them unsuccessful.
- Live your life
If you are living a happy and fulfilled life, you are less likely to have to fight the darker sides of being a cyber bullying victim. Spend time with those who support, uplift, and encourage you. Work, exercise, participate in extracurricular events, and make time for fun! Get out and enjoy your life. The cyber bully may stop if you continue to live your life and the bully is not getting what s/he wants.
- Develop coping skills
Being a victim of cyber bullying can really wear you out, even if you are trying to life a happy and fulfilled life. Cyber bullying victims are likely to experience low self-esteem, a lack of motivation, intense stress, and even depression. It is important to develop and strengthen ways to cope with these effects. Here are some coping strategies that some cyber bullying victims have used:
Exercise is a great way to work out stress and alleviate the symptoms and effects of depression. Find something that you enjoy doing whether it’s a yoga class, a good run, or kickboxing—find something you like that will get your heart-pumping and help clear your mind.
If you a spiritual person, seek spirituality. Meditate, pray, study, and work at developing an inner peace.
- Figure out your needs
Learn more about yourself. Find out what helps you most. If you handle stress by getting together with your friends and having fun, make plans to do that as often as necessary. If you prefer quiet time at home, allow yourself that time. Make sure not to over-schedule yourself if that overwhelms you. You need to make time for what makes you happy.
- Get support
Fortunately and unfortunately, you are not alone in being a victim of cyber bullying.According to stopbullying.gov, the rates of cyber bullying are ever-increasing. There are hotlines and support groups available to cyber bullying victims. This will give you the opportunity to meet with others and hear their cyber bullying stories. You can find ways to help each other cope and it helps just to know you are not alone.
- Take action
There are many organizations today that are working hard to prevent cyber bullying and to provide support to the victims. Get involved in these organizations and help make a difference.