Teenagers and youth are not the only ones being bullied in cyberspace. Unfortunately, adults are victims of this behavior as well. Cyberbullying is the use of digital technology to harass, threaten or embarrass another.
What is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is the use of information technology including; e-mail, instant messages, text messaging, chat rooms, social media, forums, and other technology interfacing to deliberately hurt, taunt, ridicule, threaten or intimidate someone. Social media enables bully behaviors because the Internet provides the perfect atmosphere for cyberbullies to gain gratification from the distress of others due to provoking and tormenting.
According to the American Counseling Association 40% of cyberbullies engage in online aggression just for fun.
Using digital technology:
What about you?
As an adult have you been a victim of cyberbullying?
Who are Adult Cyberbullies?
Unlike traditional bullies, cyberbullies have anonymity. Being masked behind a computer screen or online account enables some attention seeking adults a false sense of authority and righteousness. Most adult cyberbullies gain some sort of gratification from seeing others distraught, hurt and responding to their accusations. More than anything else they want attention. It doesn't matter what type of attention they get, positive or negative, as long as they can provoke someone into paying them attention.
According to Bully Online bullies are:
- Emotionally immature
- Shallow and superficial with plenty of fine words but there's no substance
- Escapes accountability
- Highly manipulative
- Superior sense of entitlement
- Holds deep prejudices
- Incapable of initiating or sustaining intimacy
- Not your friend
- Refuses to be specific and never gives a straight answer
- Quick to belittle, undermine, denigrate and discredit anyone who calls, attempts to call, or might call the bully to account
The goal of a cyberbully is to gain power, control, and create chaos.
Consequences of Cyberbullying
Victims of cyberbullying experience:
- Low self-esteem
How to Stop Cyberbullies
Are You at Risk for Cyberbullying?
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How to Stop Cyberbullying Tips
- Minimize your response- if you can minimize your responses or do not respond at all, you will not encourage the bully. The more you try to explain the more gratification they obtain. Your increasingly desperate attempts to clarify yourself and communicate with a bully is exactly what they want.
- You do not need the last word- bullies like to have the last word. You can go back and forth trying to clear up your name over and over again. However, conversing with a bully keeps the bully engaged with you and what you are saying. Bullies, most often, need to have the last word. Say your peace concisely, and leave it be.
- Block the person- you can block incoming messages from bullies on your phone or other social media by using their phone number, username, e-mail address or IP.
- Deactivate- if necessary temporarily deactivate your phone number, email, social media profiles to stop the bullying. You can recreate a new number, email and social media account and be selective of who you share your information with.
- Document- take a screen shot of the bullying, keep records of emails, text messages and the like.
- Report- the bullying to the server provider or the administrators. Cyberbullying is not tolerated on most websites and messaging services. Cyberbullying is also illegal in some states.
How to Deal with Cyberbullying
- Know cyberbullies engagement in this behavior with you, has very little or nothing to do with you and everything to do with their issues.
- Understand that it is not possible to communicate in a mature adult manner with a distorted individual who is a cyberbully.
- Do not believe the cyberbully. Their view of you is not correct and reflects them, not you.
- Close your computer and do something else for a while- make art, drink herbal tea, take a walk and enjoy yourself.
- Take action. Empower yourself and take action by blocking and reporting the bully.
- Call a close friend. Let a good friend remind you how awesome you really are.
If You Can't Say Something Nice....
The Golden Rule
"If you can't say something nice... Don't say nothing at all."
We all can be part of the solution to cyberbullying. First and foremost watch out for each other. Do not engage in any form of verbally attack. If you have an argument or a disagreement with someone online do it in a manner with respect and dignity.
If you see someone being a victim of cyberbullying, do something.
Here are some things you can do when you see someone else being cyberbullied:
1. At the very least, post something positive for the person. Although, most people will ruminate about the negative comments, having at least someone say something positive helps balance out the negative.
2. Tell the person they are being cyberbullied. Some people are not aware what is cyberbullying and they are a victim of it, especially adults. Once they know what it is, they can begin to take the necessary steps to protect themselves.
3. Be a friend. Sometimes the person being cyberbullied just needs a friend. Someone to remind them they are not what the cyberbullied posted.
4. Inform. Inform the person being cyberbullied they have rights. If they are being cyberbullied on a forum, social media or online writing groups like Hubpages there are usually standards stating this type of behavior is not tolerated. Let the victim know of their rights and help them to take the steps to block the cyberbully and notify the administrators.
© Copyright Carly Sullens 2013. All Rights Reserved.