Believe it or not, kids are not the only victims of cyberbullying. Adults can just as easily become prey to vicious internet attacks. Cyberbullying involves anyone who is targeted maliciously through any form of electronic access. Cyber bullies are simply cowards because they get to hide behind their hurtful words and anonymous user names. You'd think your high school days were behind you, along with all of the immaturity and hurtful teasing. Unfortunately, the world wide web has a way to take bullying to the next level. The following steps will give you some tools in fighting against this faceless form of bullying.
Cyberbullying involves posting pictures and mean comments, spreading rumors and lies, and humiliating or attacking someone without their consent. If you want to stop this malicious behavior in it's tracks, don't forward hateful emails or content to your friends. Forwarding this type of information will feed into it and even implicate you as a cyber bully.
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If you receive a hurtful and harassing form of electronic content toward another person, whether you know the person or not, reply to them and let them know cyberbullying is hurtful. Explain to them that the person being attacked could easily be a close friend or family member and that you're pretty sure their loved ones would be outraged; not to mention the person being attacked. Some say it's best not to respond to the bully since that's exactly what they want. This may be true, however if you respond only once to everyone receiving the email from the cyberbullying, reminding them they are causing more harm by forwarding the hurtful email on, it might send a strong message.
Block, report, and flag any and all content by a cyber bully. This sends a strong statement that you won't condone this type of internet behavior, nor can your sense of right and wrong be penetrated by feeding into it for the sake of a good laugh. Adults are just as vulnerable as teenagers when it comes to cyberbullying. They too will second guess themselves and assume they are a joke. No one is immune to the effects of cyberbullying, not even adults.
Sometimes, if you're lucky, you may be able to click on the cyber bully's user name and find a link to some of their information. This information may include their website and even place of work. If a cyber bully feels they have a right to victimize and humiliate a perfectly good stranger, I don't see why that perfectly good stranger can't write a letter to the cyber bully's place of work and let them know what type of person they have employed at their business by informing them of their cruel cyber bully activities. Letting their place of work know they will be losing future business until the employee in question is no longer a part of their establishment might send a message.
When you deal with cyberbullying, you need to look at the deeper root of the issue and realize that the bullies are simply trying to get a rise out of you. Don't let them have the control by overreacting. Instead, find a way to fight back in a calm and focused manner.
There are great online resources you can go to find helpful information in dealing with cyberbullying such as the National Crime Prevention Council. Finding or even creating a support group of people who have experienced cyberbullying can be a great outlet, not to mention a positive way to brainstorm ideas to prevent cyberbullying and promote these ideas in local schools and places of work.
Pressure your government by writing your congressmen to put in place protective measures toward victims of cyberbullying. Suggest ideas that will enforce accountability to those who threaten or harass others online.
Cyber bullies rarely think of the consequences of their actions. Often they will assume there aren't any consequences due to the anonymity of the internet. Little do cyber bullies know, there are ways to fight back and bring them down. Whether it be through filing a complaint through the website or blocking their destructive actions through email, there are ways to make their bullying much more difficult. Stay strong and stand up to the cyberbullying cowards of the internet!