Social media is a very effective communication method between families and friends. This useful platform can also be a great way to share great memories with all your friends at once using pictures. However, this method of communication is being tainted with the reputation of being a catalyst to cyberbullying, which has various adverse side effects.
Teens may face a difficult time trying to process the words or pictures used to bully them and as a result, they may resort to self-inflicted pain or even suicide. Others may face prolonged mental and social conditions because of this and this is the reason why cyberbullying needs to be stopped and prevented.
How can you stop cyberbullying in social media when facing it or when someone you know is being bullied? Here are 10 tips to help you know what to do.
1. Speak to someone you trust
When you have been bullied or if you are being bullied, you need to come out and speak to someone you trust. Be open and honest about how you feel about the whole ordeal and do not belittle the effect it has on you.
Avoid the mentality that your teachers or parents won?t do anything about it because they do care about you. If speaking to your teachers or parent is not an option you can get in touch with your school guidance counselor who will help you get through it. Also, don?t have the perception that the situation will escalate when you tell someone, instead of that, speak up!
The fear of getting embarrassed might get you, but for you to face that situation with triumph, you need to tell someone.
Alternatively, if you are a parent, you may find it beneficial to reach out to your children when you think they are being bullied. Brainstorm ways with your child to address this issue and follow them through, however, don?t make your children regret opening up to you.
2. Keep evidence
Some cyberbullying incidents may cross the line from aggravation to criminal offenses such as harassment and threats. For the bullies to pay for what they did, you must keep a record of everything.
This includes screenshots of posts, messages, or voice notes. These should be kept for whenever the local law enforcement authorities need them. As some cases even involve suicide, you as a parent should keep a record of these things, especially if your child committed suicide because of this.
Some cyberbullies do not get what they deserve just because the evidence is inadmissible. To avoid this, keep a record of the date and time when this started happening.
This happened to a girl named Izzy Dix who was constantly being harassed online because of the clothes she wore and her ambition to study at Oxford.
She committed suicide, but because there was no evidence, law enforcement found no grounds to charge anyone. However, her mom, Gabbi, has now found records that show the pattern of cyberbullying and as a result, she wants the case to be reopened.
3. Don?t retaliate
Most of the time, any type of bully bullies others to get attention from the one he is bullying or from others. Essentially, bullies are looking for ways to make the situation escalate and retaliating will give them just that.
Choose to walk away and ignore those posts, messages, or pictures they have used to get to you. However, don?t walk away in the context of not telling anyone or not getting help, but rather don?t engage with the bullies.
Even if the things they said are hurtful or untrue, don?t answer them or try to justify yourself because the situation might get out of hand without you even recognizing.
Make a plan of action whenever you get bullied to go tell someone right after you see that post or act of cyberbullying. Afterward, block that bully from sending your further messages or emails altogether. If the bully used a post to get to you, you can report it and it will get taken down. Once you have blocked that bully, you won?t see any further posts from him.
4. Understand the scope of cyberbullying
Knowing where cyberbullying comes from is very important because you can know where to focus your efforts. Bullying is no longer practiced in school playgrounds, but it is now done digitally on all social media platforms.
This includes Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, WhatsApp and even other digital means of communication like text messages and emails.
It can happen from any of these platforms at any time, so you need to be ready to take action to help your children. Alternatively, you as a victim need to be prepared to handle this situation, should it happen.
With almost all teenagers having access to the internet and possess mobile devices, the scope of cyberbullying is very big. Parents need to monitor the phones of their children and monitor their online behavior to eliminate any possibility of an incident of this sort.
As technology is developing, it is getting more and easier to accomplish this, so you need to stay up to date with the latest technologies. Teach your kids and even your grown-up children to not to over-rely on digital platforms.
Tell them the importance of spending time in the outside world with friends and relatives. Take them out for walks, sports, and other extra-curricular like painting, dance classes, etc.
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5. Be educated about cyberbullying
Knowing what cyberbullying is and knowing more about this growing problem as parents will help avoid escalated incidents. Furthermore, parents should be aware of what is going on in their children?s lives, including what they are up to on their phones.
There are some misconceptions about this that parents should also properly understand. For example, some think that boys are the majority of cyberbullies towards girls. However, the truth is that both girls and boys are both bullies at the same rate.
The approach of each gender is unique, though because boys are most likely to use threats and girls focus more on emotional abuse.
So, learning these facts and learning more statistics will help parents be better equipped to help their children who are being bullied. This will also help parents of bullies recognize their children?s behavior early and be able to act on it.
Just as no one would like their child to be a cyberbully, all parents should put in the work learning more about this problem.
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