WE Day is an annual youth event that celebrates everyday heroes. This year, it was held on September 20th and although many issues were tackled, I was interested in the #LaterHaters campaign because they were tackling online bullying. So it was a pleasant surprise when I saw these boys repping the campaign.
But I was disappointed because enough light was not shed on cyberbullying. Pre-teens and teenagers are not the only victims of cyberbullying; adults also suffer from this electronic type abuse, but the media tends to focus on the teens.
What is cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying takes place by the unfair usage of electronic technology to humiliate, target, threaten, embarrass or harass someone. Electronic technology may include devices such as computers, tablets and cell phones. Cyberbullies can also use communication tools such as websites, social media and text messages.
Here are a few examples of cyberbullying:
Impersonation: This is the act of taking someone else’s identity for the purpose of damaging the person’s reputation. Some impersonators carry the act further by creating a false online profile.
Cyberstalking: The use of electronic communications to persistently harass someone. Simply put, this is online stalking. The person receiving the threatening messages may eventually begin to question his/her safety and even mental being.
Proxy attacks: These kinds of attacks happen when the bully install a proxy onto the victim’s computer. The bully will then be able to access the victim’s information through the proxy; they’ll then use this information to threaten, humiliate and sometimes even blackmail the victim.
Photos: Bullies tend to upload private/embarrassing images of their victims on the internet to humiliate them. The images may be altered/photoshopped to embarrass the victim. I’ll also advise teenagers to not send nudes online to anyone.
It does not matter the example, the bully’s main aim is to torment the victim making his/her life miserable for the fun of it.
Later Haters!! Don’t let online trolls stop you from making the difference you know you can make.
But is it that simple? Cyberbullying can hurt as much as physical bullying for most people that are bullied online are also bullied in real life. This can cause the victim to become traumatized, have lower self-esteem, turn to alcohol and drugs, question their mental health, and in some cases, even take their lives.
You might ask what causes a human being to do this cruel act to another human being. Well, most of these bullies are insecure and in harming someone else’s life for the fun of it makes them feel superior. There may not always be a reason for cyberbullying.
How to prevent/stop cyberbullying?
While cyberbullying is not going to go away anytime soon, there are ways you can prevent being bullied online.
* Don’t empower a bully. By responding to bullies, you empower them because your reaction is exactly what they want.
* Block the bully. If you’re using platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, or even a blog, use the security settings or privacy tools to block the person. Change your account settings by making sure you don’t reveal your address and phone number. If you think someone is impersonating you, create a new account and notify your friends and family.
* Save the evidence. Yes, this means every text message, email and even fake profile account/s in your name. Make sure to file and record the time and date each message was sent just in case you have to go to the police.
* If you’re a child or a teenager, do not be afraid to ask for help. Go to someone you can trust (parents, older siblings, teacher, school counselor etc.) and ask them for help.
* Don’t become a cyberbully. If you witness your friend/s teasing someone online, ask them to stop and let them know that cyberbullying has the same consequences as bullying someone in person. Do not distribute photos or videos of someone that is considered humiliating or could be used against the person.
*** I finally got around to working on the Social Media topics, but I’ll try to have all posted by November God’s willing, though. I wanted to write more about cyberbullying, but I did not want it too chatty.
Disclaimer: I am not saying that you shouldn’t use social media because there are many good things that you can reap from it, but use it wisely and thoughtfully.