We’ve all been on social media groups where an innocuous question or comment turns into an all-out attack and mob-mentality prompts people to say unkind or malicious things. What happens, though, when we are the target of an attack? Is this considered cyberbullying?
What is cyberbullying?
It’s easy to take offence at a comment online, and often the true intent of the meaning is lost because we’re looking at typed words as opposed to a hearing the tone of voice or seeing the person’s facial expression. Before you do anything, be certain that this isn’t just someone speaking out of turn.
Bullying is intentional harassment, threats, or public humiliation which can be incredibly damaging.
So, what can we do?
Can you just ignore it? Bullies are usually trying to provoke a response from you and once you give them what they want they have all the power. Oftentimes, ignoring the comment just allows the situation to fizzle out.
What if we’re really angry or hurt? Can’t we just retaliate and “put them in their place”? Actually, no. Remaining calm and not getting sucked into the vortex of anger shows a quiet strength of character which will serve you well.
However, there may be times when you feel it’s necessary to respond to the bully. If this is necessary, do so in a non-emotional way, firmly asking them to remove what they have posted online, or to stop messaging you.
Then, remove yourself from the problem. Block their social media profiles or their phone number.
If the harassment is serious and you are fearful that it may escalate, by all means, take screenshots of the comments or messages and report it to the authorities.
Instant messaging and social platforms can be a lot of fun, but they are also a hiding place for bullies and people who are determined to undermine or ruin other people’s reputation. The best way to deal with these people – for the most part – is to simply not engage them.