Connecting through the digital world and experiencing entertaining things sitting at home are a few perks of the internet. This digital age makes communication and education easily accessible, even in the most remote locations. One can enjoy unlimited fun and stay entertained watching videos, making friends, and posting pictures. However, there is a negative aspect of cyberbullying connected to the online world.

You may not realize it if you never experience it firsthand, but there are many individuals who prey on people and their insecurities. They hide behind the mask of anonymity and attack innocent people for their fun. Besides, they can affect people emotionally and cause mental health issues. These bullies sometimes attack people for their beliefs, looks, and what they choose to share online.

Moreover, some of these people use social accounts to collect data, spread malware, and use personal information for their personal gain. If you are not too cautious about your private information and accounts online, these people may find you like a soft victim. It is hard to reason with such people and expect them to change overnight. That’s why we need to have strict rules and punishments in cyberbullying cases.

With some cyber safety tips, you can manage such online chaos and live a peaceful life. Now, peace does not imply you should ignore such bullies and let them have their way. We have listed some things to do when you see someone is getting cyberbullied.

All about cyber bully

Cyberbullying is nasty and affects the mental health of kids, teens, and even adults who use social media. One cannot ensure cyber safety by ignoring such bullies or staying quiet to let the situation pass. If you are unaware of the term, cyberbullying refers to verbal abuse through technological means, including social accounts and emails. It could be anything from verbally saying things or posting morphed pictures and videos to hurt someone.

A mysterious man in a hood, Source: Pixabay

This also includes text messages, media messages, video circulation, and audio messages defaming a person. Moreover, it is a mental attack on a person, be it a child or a teen, meant to hurt the sentiments. Cyberbullying may also be leaking personal information, spreading rumours online, and hurting someone’s religious beliefs.

A person may feel upset and triggered after encountering such cyberbullying incidents. For instance, it could also be someone impersonating as you and spreading information that is not true at all. These incidents take a huge toll on an individual's cyber security and make social media a defiled place. Due to such negative experiences online, social media no longer stays a safe space to enjoy and share happy information.

The worst part is such online messages get circulated within seconds, and one cannot ignore them. This definitely comes at the price of a person’s mental health and peace. Moreover, one may not even realize before it is too late as some things may go unnoticed or unreported. The person who uses anonymity to bully someone may hide behind, but you can do plenty of things to help identify them.

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Signs of Cyberbullying

A person who experiences online harassment may seem fearful and over the edge all the time. They tend to exhibit negative emotions in less stressful situations and may not feel any joy in life. According to reports, women are often easy targets for cyberbullies, and there is not much being done to resolve it. While a strong person may mask their fear, you can look out for the changes in their behaviour to assess if they are being bullied online.

Girl using a laptop: Source: Pixabay

These emotions may range from shame, guilt, fear, stress, and excessive unexplained anxiety. They may feel uneasy and inconsistent at times while unable to explain how they are truly feeling. Besides, you will feel they have become upset by using social media or are keeping their distance online. It may also mean they are taking a mental health social media break. However, it is always important to ask someone and help them open up about their struggles.

Physical Symptoms

These may include nausea, headache, and tiredness all the time. They may feel worried all the time in anticipation of cyberbullying. Besides, young kids and teens who get bullied often lack access to resolving such issues by themselves. Parents should keep a check on their children to see if they are physically and mentally doing okay.

Behavioural Changes

You may see the person has become very anxious and feels at discomfort all the time. They may talk about running away or harming themselves in some way. If a child is experiencing bullying at school, he/she may skip classes. The same way someone who is suffering from online bullying may withdraw from social media and exhibit negative emotions attached to posting on social media.

Online Habits and Alienation

A person may do a whole behavioural reversal with their online habits. Someone who used to be online a lot may not even check their accounts anymore. If they feel triggered by online presence, they may suddenly delete their accounts or log off from all accounts. Moreover, if this person was too active on social media earlier, their absence is a telltale sign of something being wrong. 

They may avoid sharing anything online or be too cautious about what they share. This could imply they are taking a break but seems unlikely for an extrovert who lived online earlier. They may not even use the phone anymore or not report any bully or online phishing content as they did earlier. Learn about social media safety here!

How Can You Help?

If you see someone going through such changes in behaviour due to online harassment, just talk to them. Know that they may not open up that easily and will need a lot of advice and talking.

A girl working on a Macbook. Source: Pixabay

Be There for Them

A person may need comfort and advice when in a bullying situation as the victim may not know how to proceed. The first thing to do is be there to talk to them and actively listen about the harm they are facing with such online content. They may take a while to feel comfortable to express themselves; however, being patient is the best way to go.

You can cheer your students and kids with positivity and focus their attention on how to deal with their bully. If they need help dealing with the situation, ask them to be honest and share everything with you. This will help in devising a plan to take care of the bully. Meanwhile, you can help them change their privacy settings on their social accounts and suggest to them what to share and what not to share online.

Report the Cyber Harassment

Even after changing the privacy settings, bullies may find a way into your private accounts or send unsolicited message requests. The only way to deal with such harm-causing content is to report it on your phone or laptop. You may even choose to block such numbers and accounts to get rid of such online negativity. Click for phone safety measures!

Moreover, students should learn at school the moral implications of bullying a person and dealing with a person who is insecure enough to bully. You can gather screenshots, evidence of calls and texts, and emails to report such a person to the authorities. This will help in creating a concrete case against the bully and help with a stern action over them.

Use Online Resources in case of cyberbullying

Some national websites and channels help against cyberbullying with their email and helpline numbers. You can use such resources if your bully is adamant in not stopping and continues bashing you. Besides, the websites and social media platforms have a dedicated section for such bullies and allow you to report such accounts. These are effective in dealing with trolls and leading young people into a safe online space.

Trolls usually attack the youth generation and use technology to harm them emotionally and mentally. One should file a formal complaint if such platforms do not resolve the issues immediately.  More about online safety!

Things to Avoid

Now you know what you can do when someone is getting bullied or if you are the one in the center of such harassment. Here are a few key things that you should avoid doing to ensure that the bully stays away and does not take the fight back lightly.

Staying Quiet

It may seem uncomfortable and anxiety causing to confront a bully online and offline. You are not doing anything wrong; however, it may be your body’s flight and fight response. So, staying quiet will not serve you in any way in such a situation. You need to have a support system of peers and parents who can help you fight the bully.

Waiting

Things might take a bad turn and get irreparable if you wait for a long time before taking action. You need to make sure you take the right stand for yourself or others so that the bullying can be contained. It can have an adverse effect on someone’s perception of life and mental health, so it is better to get involved and find a solution.

Victim Blaming and Making Fun

There is no point in blaming someone who is suffering from online harassment and bullying. This is the worst you can do, and making light of the situation may lead to adverse effects on the whole situation. Victims are the ones who are suffering, so everyone should be supportive of bullying victims. 

Moreover, it may make the bully feel more comfortable about doing such acts of internet harassment. Make sure that you target the bully and let them know it’s not cool to act like this. 

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