Cyberbullying or cyber harassment is a form of bullying or harassment using electronic means. Cyberbullying and cyber harassment are also known as online bullying. It has become increasingly common, especially among teenagers, as the digital sphere has expanded and technology has advanced. It is bullying with the use of digital technologies. It can take place on social media, messaging platforms, gaming platforms, and mobile phones. It is repeated behavior, aimed at scaring, angering, or shaming those who are targeted. Examples include:
- spreading lies about or posting embarrassing photos of someone on social media
- sending hurtful messages or threats via messaging platforms
- impersonating someone and sending mean messages to others on their behalf.
Face-to-face bullying and cyberbullying can often happen alongside each other. But cyberbullying leaves a digital footprint – a record that can prove useful and provide evidence to help stop the abuse.
When bullying happens online it can feel as if you’re being attacked everywhere, even inside your own home. It can seem like there’s no escape. The effects can last a long time and affect a person in many ways:
Mentally — feeling upset, embarrassed, stupid, even angry
Emotionally — feeling ashamed or losing interest in the things you love
Physically — tired (loss of sleep), or experiencing symptoms like stomach aches and headaches
Online groups are filled with hundreds if not thousands of people who all witness the rude comments. This can make the situation more hurtful than a few people hearing the rude comments in person.
So what can you do to handle cyberbullying and be polite online? Here are a few tips:
1. Don’t retaliate and write a nasty post in response.
It will only make the situation worse.
2. Do not take the rude comments personally nor doubt your views or beliefs.
The rude comments have little to do with you. They are more about the issues of the person making them.
3. Do not reread the offending Cyberbullying comments.
This will only lead to obsession and further anger. Report the offending comments to a group moderator if possible.
4. Understand that not everyone has your same beliefs or views.
Be open to others’ thoughts and opinions. Recognize that many people can be right. What seems like a rude comment at first glance might only be someone expressing a different opinion.
5. Make a 30 second rule for Cyberbullying.
After you’ve written something but before you post it, step away from the computer or phone for 30 seconds. When you come back, look at the message you wrote and ask yourself how you’d feel if someone wrote this to you.
Report and block
Most social media sites want to help you feel safe online. They don’t want you to experience cyberbullying, either, so they have a lot of built-in tools to keep you safe.
If you’ve exhausted the reporting and blocking options within your social media platform and things are still really bad, you can make a report to Esafety Commissioner by filling out this form. Before you make a complaint.