Cyberbullying is pervasive these days.
Anyone who uses the internet to engage with others is a potential bully or target. Cyberbullying is the act of insulting, isolating, threatening, or harassing someone via the internet or with a cell phone. Internet bullying is distinguished from other behaviors such as rudeness or being, because it is intentional, ongoing, and involves an imbalance of power. It can cause lasting emotional, even physical harm. Fortunately, there are steps that people can take to prevent online bullying.
1. Know That Cyber Harassment Laws Can Protect You
There are several laws on the local, state, and federal level that are designed to protect you from online bullying. Here are some things to know:
- Offenders Who Violate Law May Face a Stiff Sentence For Cyber Bullying
Depending on the nature of their conduct, violators could be fined, placed on probation, forced to community service, or even face jail time. Those placed on probation could have internet privileges removed or restricted as part of the conditions for their probation.
- Threats of Violence And Extortion Attempts Are Taken Very Seriously By Police
If bullying escalates into threats of doing physical harm, or the you are the victim or an extortion attempt, law enforcement will be their with cyber harassment help.
If someone creates a spoof account pretending to be you, that may fall into the category of identity theft. The same applies if someone gains your trust, gets you to reveal personal information, and then shares that information with others. Check the laws in your area.
2. Use The Technology That is Available to You
There are many tools that you can use to protect yourself from online bullying and it’s effects. The first is to use the tools provided on most social networking sites. These enable you to block specific users, tighten your privacy restrictions, and even hide posts from specific people.
3. Know How to Stand up For Yourself
People who engage in Facebook cyberbullying or other forms of internet harassment usually enjoy seeing an emotional reaction. For example, they may post a lie about you or claim that you have a romantic interest in someone who you dislike. Their goal is to get you visibly upset and emotional, and to get you twisting in the wind defending yourself against their untruth.
Don’t get involved in back and forth conversations or get emotional. Instead, respond with a terse ‘that’s not true’ or ‘knock it off’. Then, say nothing more and use the unfriend, block, hide post, or other options.
4. Be Wary About What You Share Online
While it is never the victim’s fault if embarrassing or personal information is shared about them, discretion is always a good idea. Before you post something on line, or share a confidence in a text or private message, think twice. Could this be used to abuse you later? How well do you know the person on the other end of the conversation?
5. Don’t Engage Collect Evidence
The more you engage with someone who is bullying you online, the more you risk stooping to their level and exhibiting behavior that could also be labeled as bullying and harassment. For example, if you go to a site moderator for cyber harassment help, and they see that both you and your bully have been insulting one another, they may categorize it as a mutual conflict. As a result both of you could be penalized or you could be told to settle it yourself.
Instead of engaging with your bully, focus on gathering evidence. Save emails and text messages. Use a tool that allows you to take screenshots of posts so that you have them in case they are edited or deleted.
Steps 6-10 on the next page..