Before finding ways to fight or avoid cyber abuse, we need to first understand what cyber abuse is and the reasons for cyberbullying. Cyber abuse happens when technology is used in a way to harass, threaten, humiliate, or otherwise hassle others. Cyber abuse can involve sending mean or threatening text messages, posting sensitive and private information about the person being cyberbullied, or pretending to be someone else by using multiple false accounts. In other cases, cyberbullies can also post embarrassing videos or images and spread rumours or private information about the person cyberbullied.

|​SEE ALSO: What if You’re One of the Cyber Bullying Victims|​ 

Cyber Bullying: A Bigger Challenge

Cyber abuse can be worse than traditional bullying for many reasons. Cyberbullying is usually harder to stop since the information published on the internet is quickly distributed to a wider audience. In many cases, cyber abuse is made by an anonymous offender, which makes it harder for the victim to pinpoint the origin of the abuse or take hold of evidence against the cyberbully.

Why Is There Cyber Abuse?

Cyber abuse occurs for a number of reasons. Public chat room sites are a great place for cyber abuse. Many people give out personal information thinking that they are safe behind their computers. However, there are other useful chat room sites like home repair, where people can complete certain projects or get help on what they are doing. Normally it is easy to remove bullying from these sites, unlike other public chat room sites.

How to Avoid Cyber Abuse

To avoid cyber abuse, talk with people you already know or others you have known online for a long time. However, talking with people you barely know might create room for cyber abuse.

The rise of social media has also caused an increase in cyber abuse. It is common to post information on social media websites. On the other hand, you need to be more cautious about what you are posting and read carefully before sharing any information. You can also adjust your privacy settings to keep your content private and limit your posts to certain people. It is also better to frequently check privacy settings since they are occasionally changed by site moderators or administrators.

Also remember that the Internet is a public sphere, and whatever you upload online will be always there. This is why letting people know personal information will probably lead to unforeseen consequences. To keep your online life private, it is better if you avoid revealing personal details or sharing passwords with your friends.

 Prevention is Better than Cure

There are many ways to prevent cyber abuse. First, you need to educate yourself about the topic by checking out fact sheets and different resources. Seeking support from an adult will also help if you see someone being cyberbullied. However, if the person you know is the abuser, explain how hurtful their action is and encourage them to stop cyber abuse.

Helping Parents Overcome Cyber Abuse: If Your Child Is the Cyber Bully

It can be worrisome if you are a parent and find out that your child is a cyber-bully. But, it is never too late to handle the issue. You need to set your expectations for reasonable behaviour and make it clear for the child to understand how technology should be used. You also need to make it clear that this action will not be tolerated and that you may have to take further actions to stop the abuse.

If your child is the bully, he or she may tend to be secretive about online activities. They quickly switch off computers or close programs as you pass by. Normally, they will use computers or other technology devices late at night or get upset if they cannot use any of these devices. They might also use multiple accounts to pretend to be someone else and use it against others.

As a parent, you need to understand the reason for cyber abuse. Your child might have been a victim before, which made him become a bully now. Explain the severity of their action in case it is reported to law courts or school authorities and let them think of ways to repair the harm they have caused to others. Also monitoring their behaviour is highly important. A cyber or even a traditional bully normally tends to show cruelty or violence towards others. If necessary, you can seek more help from a counsellor or a provider for mental health.

Helping Parents Overcome Cyber Abuse: If Your Child Is the Victim

If your child demonstrates anger, depression, or frustration after using a computer or other technology devices, he or she is probably being cyberbullied.  In case your child is a victim of cyber abuse, they will unexpectedly stop or increase the use of devices. Avoiding discussions on what they are doing or withdrawing from usual friends or family members are other signs of cyber abuse practised against your child.

If you find out that your child is facing cyber abuse, ensure that they are not to blame and talk to your child about the necessary steps to stop the abuse. The first step is to encourage your child not to respond to cyber abuse. Ask your child to save images or other threatening text messages for evidence. Sometimes it is hard to find out the cyberbully if they are anonymous. In this case, internet providers can help with the information you are looking for.

Cyber abuse is difficult to monitor or track, but it can be also helpful if you report the abuse to school. In the worst-case scenario, the school can watch face-to-face bullying, which can also help school authorities notice children practising Internet abuse. Another way to stop cyber abuse is to contact the bully’s parents. The parents may have a positive response and encourage their child to avoid this action. Otherwise, they will not respond to your complaint and ignore their child’s abuse. In extreme cases, you might want to involve an attorney or the police if the abuse gets criminal.

More Tips for Parents:

-Keep an eye on your child’s online activities.

-Have computers in a common area in the house.

-Respect your child’s privacy, but put their safety as your main concern.

-Observe your child’s behaviour before and after internet use.

– Let your child confide in you and talk about cyberbullying.

-Seek out help from an adult member: a teacher, a counsellor, or a coach that your child can relate to.

-Seek therapeutic support or emergency help if necessary.

-Involve police if the bullying becomes criminal.

Cyberbullying is not easy to avoid due to the easy accessibility of the Internet. However, handling cyber abuse can still be manageable if you realize the issue and take immediate action to handle the problem. To stop the abuse, first, you need to contact the right authorities to take the necessary procedures against the bully. You do not want the bully to get away with their actions, so always keep evidence of cyberbullying to turn it in to the authorities and keep a separate text file saved with the date and form of abuse.

Early prevention is better than dealing with the issue of cyber abuse. Before it happens, try to find more information on cyber abuse and its psychological impact on the victim. It is easy to feel good about what you do online knowing that you won’t be abused by following the right precautions.