Are You Being Cyberbullied?
How Can You Know If You're Being Bullied Online?
With the rise of social media, many people are experiencing cyberbullying for the first time. How do you know if you're being cyberbullied? And who should you tell if you are being cyberbullied?
Cyberbullying is a form of bullying that takes place online through social media, chat, email and texts. It is often easier to cyberbully someone because the bully has a high degree of anonymity - this makes it very easy for people to attack others without facing any repercussions.
Cyberbullying tends to be worse than traditional bullying because there is no escape once you have been targeted. Bullies can send a constant stream of abusive messages, images and videos to their victims from anywhere in the world - they do not even need to know where their victim lives!
Are You A Victim Of Cyberbullying?
It is common for friends to joke with one another, but how do you tell the difference between a joke and bullying when it happens in an online environment? It can actually be a lot harder to distinguish between joking and bullying online, and even in person, sometimes it can be challenging to judge whether a person wants to joke with you or offend you.
If you feel offended or feel like others are laughing at you instead of laughing with you, the joke has probably gone too far and crossed the boundaries of fun. If the abuse continues even after you've asked the person(s) to stop, or someone has repeatedly called you names online, made threats or manipulated you into doing things against your will, it is possible that they are cyberbullying you.
When bullying takes place online, it is often in front of a wide audience and the incident can receive widespread unwanted attention as strangers can also become involved or be bystanders in a bullying situation. Whenever bullying occurs, it does not have to be accepted or tolerated.
Is Your Friend A Victim Of Cyberbullying?
Anyone can fall victim to cyberbullying. If you notice a person you know is experiencing bullying online, it is crucial to try to help and support them. Listening is important but if they do not want to report a cyberbullying incident ask them why and what types of feelings the situation evokes in them?
It's also a good idea to let them know that cyberbullying doesn't always need to be formally reported, but it is still vital to talk with someone who can help.
A bullied person may feel fragile and vulnerable, therefore it's important to be kind and gentle towards your bullied friend. Help your bullied friend think about what they can say and to whom. Offer to join them if the bullied has arranged an appointment to report the bullying.
The most important thing is to show your friend is that you are on their side and want to help. If your friend is unwilling to report the incident(s), find a trusted adult who can assist them in dealing with it.
Ensure Your Personal Information Is Not Used Against Yourself On Social Media
It's a good idea to think twice before posting or sharing anything online. A publication can stay online forever and be exploited in a number of ways. Do not share your personal information such as addresses, telephone numbers or your school name.
Have a look at your favourite application's privacy settings and adjust the settings accordingly:
- Decide who can see your profile, send you direct messages or comment on your posts.
- Report or request removal of offensive and hurtful comments, messages and photos.
- A person can be removed and blocked completely so that they're unable to see your profile or contact you. If you want, you can also adjust the settings so that the person isn't completely blocked, but their comments are limited for example.
- Delete or restrict the visibility of posts posted on your wall.
Most popular social media platforms do not pass information to someone who has been blocked, restricted or reported.
Cyberbullying Can Be A Crime
The crime threshold for cyberbullying may be exceeded if, for example, information or images that infringe on privacy are disseminated
When information or images that invade a person's privacy are spread, cyberbullying has crossed the line to become a crime. If one publishes false information about another person, causing them harm or contempt, they may be guilty of defamation.
When someone makes an illegal threat, regardless if it is made over social media and messages, the subject has a legitimate reason to be concerned for their or others' safety or property.
Hate speech that one can be punished for may include but is not limited to defamation, dissemination of information that violates privacy, or incitement against a group of people.
Other types of online crimes can be various identity thefts. It's also critical to be more discerning about what type of information is forwarded so that you do not become part of, for example, bullying or defamation.
A Word From Saasyan
If you or a person you know is being cyberbullied, it's essential to get help and end the abuse. Help in this instance can mean a number of things, such as reporting cyberbullying to a social media platform, letting the school officials know, or in some cases contacting the police. Of course, every situation is unique, but it's important to remember that there are many ways to get help.
If you are a young person or know a young person who is experiencing cyberbullying, we've compiled a helpful list of resources for young people who want to report cyberbullying or discuss with a professional about other issues they're dealing with.