How to tackle bullies in the cyber world

Rajkumari Sharma Tankha

Rajkumari Sharma Tankha

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High-end technology has huge advantages, but some negative side effects as well. And mind you, there are some people who are only interested in the negatives, no matter what. You must guard yourselves, nice and proper, so that while you reap the benefits of hi-tech world you are living in, you also save yourselves from falling prey to any perverted mind out there.

One of the negative side effects of being connected to everyone globally through an email, a cell number and an account on social media website is that you are vulnerable to cyber bullying. What’s it? Let’s talk today.

Cyber bullying is when a person sends you text messages or emails that contain inappropriate content. Rumors about you sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or making fake profiles all fall under cyber bullying.

The worse thing is unlike the other form of bullying that you may have experienced in school, cyber bullying can take place anytime, anywhere. You don’t have to be physically present. It can occur anywhere, at home, via email, texts, cell phones, and social media websites 24 hours a day, seven days a week, with any number of people involved. The effects can be devastating.

If and when you are a victim of cyber bullying, you may feel hurt, humiliated, angry, depressed, or even suicidal. But don’t dwell into these negative traits. Tackle it head on. And tolerate it, NEVER.

First and foremost, do not respond to any hurtful messages sent to you or posts written about you. Getting a reaction from you is what a cyber bully wants; don’t give him/her this satisfaction. And if you react, you will get more such posts. So desist. IGNORE.

Second, don’t ever get to the level of your cyber bully. Don’t try taking revenge on a cyber bully by becoming one yourself as it will only complicate the things. And you never know how much expertise your cyber bully has in his craft.

Having said this, it is also equally important to nip the cyber bully in bud. So…

Save the evidence of the cyber bullying, keep abusive text messages or a screenshot of the webpage, and report them to a trusted adult, such as a family member, teacher, or school counselor. If the victim remains silent and doesn’t report incidents, cyber bullies often become more aggressive and ugly.

 Report the threats of harm and inappropriate sexual messages to the police. These days every state police force has set up a cyber cell which deals with cases of online crime, and cyber bullying is a crime as well.  We have efficient laws and stringent punishments for each crime, and hence these must be reported to police.

 Be regular and relentless in reporting the bullying incidents to authorities. Cyber bullying is generally a sustained campaign; it is rarely limited to one or two incidents. So report each incident, however big or small it is.

Try to block communication from the cyber bully by blocking his/her email address, cell phone number, and deleting him/her from social media contacts. Also, report his/her activities to his/her internet service provider (ISP) or to the admin of the social media or any other web sites he/she uses to target you. Most websites have norms against cyber bullying and such an action may even warrant criminal charges.

In any case,

Be strong. Do not blame yourself for being bullied. It is not your fault, and you shouldn’t feel ashamed about it, but tackle the bully head on.

Do not dwell too much on the incident, and do not read caustic messages/emails again and again. Bullies want to have control over your feelings, don’t give them that. Be in control of yourself.

Share your feelings with any elder you trust, be it parent, teacher, counselor or any other relative.

Find out ways to deal with stress. Yoga and meditation are good ways to calm your mind. You can also participate in sporting activities and indulge in your hobbies to keep yourself de-stressed.

Remember, bullies, including the cyber bullies are frustrated souls, unhappy with their own lives.


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