Coping With Cyberbullies
Bullying is an age-old problem. However, the methods people have adopted to go about these acts have changed overtime. With the rise of digital platforms and social media, there has been a huge rise in cyberbullying . Although older adults are affected by this issue to huge extents as well, teenagers and young adults often suffer from this issue on a much deeper level. Experiencing cyberbullying can be daunting. You feel alone in your suffering, and no one will ever understand what you’re going through. With brutal comment sections, direct messaging (DMs), Snapchat, etc., there are endless ways to troll people online. However, there are a few strategies that you can adopt to cope with cyberbullying.
Don’t Respond Immediately
The reason bullies indulge in cyberbullying is to annoy, upset, embarrass, hurt, or intimidate their target. They take some sort of sadistic pleasure in the other person’s misery. So if you are being cyberbullied, the bully wants you to respond. Not giving them what they want can take away their power. So, whenever someone targets you in an attempt to hurt you by making unkind comments, tagging you in offensive or embarrassing pictures, spreading rumors or lies, or sending unwanted direct messages, a good strategy to adopt is to not respond to them. If you are able to block the bully, then do so. Likewise, if the online platform has a "report button", use it to make an instant report. If not, put your phone away until you can emotionally distance yourself from the immediate situation.
Keep Proof of the Cyberbullying
Cyberbullying is a big issue, and sometimes, no matter how well you try to handle the situation, it can escalate. The good thing is that there are strict rules against cyberbullying. Therefore, it is a good idea to collect proof of the situation. Take screenshots, since it is likely that they will delete any proof of their bullying when they realize a report about their cyberbullying will be or has been made. Be sure to show the evidence and online post to a trusted adult.
If you are able to, calmly send a response asking the bully to stop. Remember that they want you to react dramatically, so taking a neutral and calm tone while addressing the situation takes away the power they wish to have over you. If they don't immediately stop, you should certainly report the cyberbulling, regardless of whether you (or someone else) are the target. Have all the evidence you saved ready before you make your report. There are sources you can contact for different online platforms in order to report the cyberbullying that you or (someone you know are experiencing). Not only will you be saving yourself from future bullying, but you might also be saving other victims as well. In addition, if you are a student, report the bullying to your school counselor, even if the bully is not a student at your school. If the bully is someone you work with, then report it to the administration there. There are additional resources here.
If you have any thoughts of harming yourself at anytime, speak to a trusted adult and go here to text someone who can help. You can also call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1800-273-8255.
Help is available and asking for help shows strength. Bullying in person or online is never your fault, and you should NOT put up with it. Always report bullies. You CAn and WILL get through this!
Until next week,