Cyber Bullying FAQ Continued…
Q5: Alright, my friend is safe. What about if I myself am a victim of cyber bullying?
A5: There are so many things to do! But first of all, don’t blame yourself for it. It is by no means your fault, ever. No matter what the haters say, you’re you, and that’s amazing enough. You should not be ashamed of who you are, what you feel, or what your life is like. The bully is the one with the problem, definitely not you.
There are several angles to tackle the cyber bullying problem, but let’s start with the bully:
First of all, save the evidence!
The one advantage cyber bullying has over usual school bullying is that you can actually save every bit of proof against your bully. Everything could be tracked online, yes, but it won’t harm if you take screenshots of this or that. If you have any nasty emails, mean posts on your profile, or offensive tweets, save them on your computer. Save texts, voicemails, and anything else that says something horrible.
Second: Do not respond
A very effective and simple response, though not exactly easy to do, is to ignore them. Do not interact or engage with them, whether positively or negatively. By replying to what the bullies say, you’re only giving them the satisfaction they want. Responding only makes the situation worse, because revoking a response out of you is exactly what they aim for. If you ignore them, they are more likely to get bored of their immaturity and just move on.
Third: Block the bully
By blocking them, you’re giving them a harder time to reach you. Block and delete their email address, or their mobile phone number. Block and delete them off your Facebook friends list, or from your Twitter followers. You should be aware that the less ways we give bullies to contact us, the less damage they could cause. Leaving them unblocked so you could think of payback might not be the best idea ever, because it gives them room to think of other things to say to hurt you, and only invites more attacks.
Also, changing the username, screen name, or email address that you are using will limit how the bully can contact you. Doing that, you also prevent the bully’s friends from joining in the attacks, and you can have a good night’s sleep without wondering who is saying what to you.
Fourth: Online Reporting
Social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, Google + and others always provide ways to report abuse, or anything that violates the site rules or code of conduct. Try reporting them to the Internet Service Provider (ISP) if it gets too serious. In case your bully has been using mobile phone texts, contact the network service provider; they do have terms and regulations that conflict with such incidents. Call their customers service and see what they can do about harassment.
You should also know that, if you do not report the incidents, the cyberbully will often become even more aggressive. And because it is never limited to one or two incidents, but is more of a sustained form of harassment, you should also follow a sustained scheme of reporting every single time the bullying happens. Relentlessness could only be faced with similar relentlessness.
Several ways to report cyber bullying:
- On Facebook: The “report” button is very useful! Facebook has a team that constantly revises what you report, and because it wants to guarantee transparent reporting, you could actually follow up with your complaints through the recently launched Support Dashboard. While it might not work, Facebook also relies on Community Reporting, as in asking the person who posted the offensive picture, video or comment to take it down. However, if they had not intended harm to you, they might comply and avoid further misunderstanding.
If you report someone for cyber bullying you or for sending you a mean message on Facebook, that automatically adds them to your Blocked list, which means they will no longer be able to post on your timeline or send you any messages. You can also block someone through your privacy settings (the little triangle at the top right corner of your Facebook web page)
- On Twitter: The real problem with Twitter is that everything is public and viewable by anyone who has or doesn’t have a Twitter account. So many popular celebrities have been harassed by receiving insulting tweets or messages from absolute strangers. However, while you cannot report an upsetting tweet, you can block a Twitter user from reaching out to you, and Twitter will never tell them you’ve blocked them. They won’t be able to follow, “mention”, or interact with you by any means, including seeing your picture, only if your account is not public; ie: protected. With a protected account, you can control who views your tweets.
- How about Youtube? While Youtube was mainly set up for the very innocent purpose of video sharing, anyone can watch and leave comments on a video, which are also for everyone to see. When someone violates YouTube’s rules, however, you can block a user through their profile, or control the comments added to the videos you post.
Fifth: Resist becoming a bully
Never seek revenge from the cyberbully by becoming one yourself. It would only make matters worse and would result in deeper complications and perhaps legal consequences. Remember two things; if you wouldn’t say it back in person, don’t say it online, and two wrongs do not make a right!
Sixth, and most importantly: Speak out; tell someone
Speak to your parents about it. No matter how they seem like they would never understand, they actually will, and they would do anything to help make you feel better. However, if you fear they might take away your phone or laptop, or force you to deactivate a social networking account, then you can speak to a school counselor, or your favourite teacher. If you don’t feel comfortable about that either, speak to a friend, but make sure this friend is really, really trustworthy.
Don’t keep someone’s mean behavior towards you as a secret. If something is bothering you, act wise, and get help. Even though adults and trusted people can’t always stop the harassment, they definitely can help you restore your strength, and will remind you that you should not let the cyber bullying ruin your life. If you ever feel too embarrassed to ask for help, remember that the bully is the one who should be embarrassed for their wrongdoings. You’re not ‘tattling’ if you’re seeking some support and encouragement.
About your online activity and cyber bullying
We are well aware that some people, who do not understand the nature of the Internet and cyber bullying, often ask the silly question of “Why don’t they just turn their computers off?” However, we know that it is never that simple. We know that clicking that “x” button or shutting down the device is never the only answer to the problem.
Nobody is expecting you to stop being online because of the immature and ridiculous behaviour of someone else. That would be plainly unfair to you, just like it’s unfair to ask a child to stop going to school to attend classes because that’s where he gets bullied. You are not the one to blame. Besides, we all know that the attack continues whether you’re online or not. For example, a Facebook fan page could be published through which lies and rumours could spread and circulate the web. Unfortunately, the show goes on until the bully gets bored, or someone decides to put an end to it.
Have you dealt with the bully? Perfect. Here’s how you deal with someone who’s way more important than the bully: yourself.
- Do not dwell on it! Don’t ever spend time re-reading the mean messages or going back to the old embarrassing posts. It only brings you down, and it’s useless. Focus on your positive experiences, because there are many wonderful things about you to be proud of.
- Find ways to relieve stress and anger, especially the one caused by surrounding people. We recommend breathing exercises for someone who’s not a fan of moving around, but doing simple workouts, meditation, or muscle relaxation exercises can be good ways to manage stress. Workouts and simple exercises are also an amazing way to boost your self-esteem and help you feel much better about yourself.
- Take some time to disconnect, and connect with your loved ones! Taking a break from your laptop, iPod, video games or mobile phone can help you think of the limitless possibilities of things to do out there! Wonder what your parents did to have some fun? Talking to people online hasn’t always been every teenager’s favourite hobby. The more time you spend away from technology, the less important the cyber bullying experience will be to you.
- Share the experiences. Most people have been through this before, and it is always great to talk to someone about it, but make sure they’re trustworthy. Letting out the feelings always helps, even if not directly. Never feel ashamed about it.
- Asking for help does not make you seem helpless or childish. In fact, it is the most mature thing to do in such cases. Go ahead and speak your mind out; tell people about the problem and the good ones WILL indeed help. Know that it does get better.
- If you talk to trustworthy people about it, going out, hanging out with people…. Chances are you’re going to make new friends much easier! If you find like-minded people who share your thoughts, ideas, interests and hobbies, you can easily move on from whatever happened to you online. Join a sports team, or a reading club. It’s always fun!
- Don’t feel like a victim. In other words, know that you actually are stronger than the bully. Bullies can seem tough on the outside, but on the inside, they’re immature, angry, frustrated people who want to get back at others or control them to make them feel as unhappy as they do. If you do become unhappy, you’re giving them exactly what they want; you don’t want that, do you?
- Love and appreciate yourself some more, because there really are people out there who care and love you, just the way you are. Unless you’re the one who initiated the argument, it’s not your fault someone is cyber bullying you. You did not bring it upon yourself by any means, and you should not blame yourself for it. Adults might tell you that your teenage years are the “best years of your life.” For most people, this is not true. Adolescence can be a time of great unhappiness, and for almost all people things get better as they get a little older. When you get older you can choose your work, your friends, and where you live.
Having people saying bad things about you can be bad enough; don’t make it worse by believing what they say. Hang in there, because you are never alone.
And as Pink says in “Perfect”
“You’re so mean when you talk to yourself
Change the voices in your head
Make them like you instead.”
Don’t forget to check Part I and Part III of our series!