The Different Forms of Cyberbullying Explained
With millions of people being bullied every day, cyberbullying is in fact a problem that has been going on for more than a decade. It is like a spreading virus that has no cure. People cannot avoid talking about other people’s lives in the internet whether it is a celebrity, a public figure or even a nobody. Everyone can experience bullying and verbal torture online. The effect on every individual varies and sometimes, when people cannot take it anymore, the bullying results into a serious mental condition like severe anxiety and depression, sometimes suicide. How is cyberbullying done? What should we do to cope with it? How to prevent and protect ourselves from cyberbullying? Forms of Cyberbullying There are many forms to harm someone online, and these are:
- Harassment and Threat – Online harassments are really annoying since the words that we are about to read is really disturbing really offensive. One example is the case of a self-published author from Georgia, USA who sent harassing and threatening messages to a guy who dumped her after dating her twice. She sent screenshots of their private conversation to the guy’s boss and posted it online for cyber-shaming.
- Flaming – This form of bullying usually occurs in an online community like forums, group conversations and gaming chats. This is done by sending rude, angry and insulting messages directly to the person. A simple forum post can lead to flaming and by that, the victim lose self-confidence and credibility online since his reputation has been damaged with flame posts and comments.
- Humiliation and Embarrassment – Social networking websites can be used to initiate humiliation and embarrassment to someone. This could be from an unflattering image of someone posted in social networking sites. Some people also humiliate a person if they speak English with remarkably grammatical errors and spelling.
- Stalking – People who are being followed wherever they go and everything that they do suffer from anxiety and fear. They feel that they are not safe on their own. Online stalking happens when a person shares her personal information publicly through social networking websites like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Foursquare and others. With this information, stalkers can send them personal messages, send mysterious gifts to someone’s home address and more.
- Posing – This form of cyber-bullying is one of the hardest to deal with by an average person. Posing is when person “poses” as someone. They impersonate their target and post words, images, audio and video that will ruin the reputation of the target. Facebook is one of the social networking sites that are filled with “posers”, posting status updates, images and videos that will result to bullying.
- Blackmail – Anonymous e-mails, phone-calls and private messages are often done to a person who is blackmailed. This happens when the person bear secrets that he may expose to public whenever he pleases. It is usually done with a motive and asks for a bargain. Usually they ask for money, material things or a favor in exchange of not exposing the secret of their target to the public.
Mediums of Cyberbullying
- Mobile Phones and Smartphones – Mobile phone users can spread viral texts to virtually bully someone. Smartphone users can participate in internet bullying such as leaving insulting comments, posting images, video and audio.
- E-mail – Cyberbullies send harassing e-mail messages and threat to someone.
- Social Networking Sites – One of the most popular medium to bully someone online. People use social networking websites like Twitter and Facebook to degrade someone’s personality in form of image, audio, video or texts.
- Blogs – People create personal webpages called blogs to express feelings and thoughts. This can also be abused by literally post something that will ruin someone’s reputation. Embarrassing photos and videos can be also posted by these “blogger bullies”.
- Forums – Forums are meant for discussion, and that also includes discussing someone else’s life. They leave offensive feedback and unnecessary arrogant comments to the person being discussed in a forum thread. Cyber-bullying can also occur when two people have arguments in a certain thread and throw insults and rude comments to each other.
How to Cope with Cyberbullying
With countless means of bullying online, it is really upsetting to know someone who is continuously harassed even though they are not doing anything. Here are some tips and advice on how to cope with it:
Self-Control It is normal to express aggression of someone who is being bullied but controlling ourselves will help us divert our negative emotions into something positive. We should think of it as a “trial” that we need to go through to be a stronger person.
Ignore Attacks Way before the age of the internet, kids have been bullied because of their race, social standing, disabilities, appearance and others. Not all people who suffered from bullying commits suicide, grew up abusive and suffer from different mental conditions. As a matter of fact, most of these people grew normal because they had finally let it go and move forward. To fight cyber-bullying, sometimes all we have to do is nothing. Ignore the attacks. Don’t let it get through you and affect you.
Spend Quality Time with Self, Family and Friends Being depressed of the situation doesn’t mean that you have to face it alone. Having a bad day is something that all of us experience. Spending time with yourself, family or your friends will help you cope with what you are going through. Your loved ones will understand you in every way possible. They will cheer you up in times when you feel that the world has turned against you. In the end, your loved ones are all that you got and keeping them on your side will help you get through with your darkest days. Spending time with your self is important too. Do something that will make you feel good and occupied. You can spend the day doing what you like until you learned to let go of what has happened to you.
How to Prevent Cyberbullying
Now that we have discussed the different forms and mediums of cyber bullying, how we can prevent it? What should we do to protect ourselves from getting cyberbullied?
Secure Privacy Whatever you do online, you have to protect and secure your privacy. If you want the world to know your whereabouts, make sure that it is not going to be used against you to prevent bullying. Facebook values privacy, that’s why they have plenty of options to make sure that your private information, photos, videos, posts will only be shared to people or group of people that you allowed to know. You can control the way you share it online. Do NOT post your mobile number online if you don’t want to receive texts and calls from anonymous people. Do not post your home address on your personal webpage and social network profiles, even if it is just a street without a house number. People may easily locate you once you shared your location online.
Know Who To Trust It’s fun to share photos and videos with your friends, but you have to make sure that these people can be trusted. Giving our trust to the wrong person might bring us harm. It might affect our lives forever.
Being more cautious with Words and Actions The nature of gossiping started at the same time with human civilization. Some people take our words and actions seriously; some of them don’t. However, we should be more careful in the way we behave and speak to avoid misunderstandings and cause misinterpretation to others. We should be careful to avoid people spreading nonsense rumors, defile our integrity as a human being or ruin our reputation.
How does this happen in our time? Our generation’s access to information is incredibly fast. We can get the latest news with few clicks from our computer, the moment we turn on our television and the moment we browse our smartphones to read news is only a few seconds away. This is same as cyber-bullying. Our action and words can be taken against us if we are not cautious enough. We should think before we post something on the internet. We should make sure that it will not cause us inconvenience.
No matter how honest our status updates in Facebook are, we should think of what people will feel about us. Before sharing pictures in Instagram or Twitter, we should think if this is appropriate for the public to see (teens and kids included). Before posting anything online, we should think if this is going to affect our reputation, our image that we maintain to have a good social life.