People have come up with a number of actions to prevent and combat abuse in different contexts. Much of the work has focused on school and work environments. Traditionally, bullying happens face-to-face, with insults, harassment, or physical aggression. With the technology we have today, however, it goes one step further in the form of cyberbullying.
The digital world is part of our everyday lives. We get on social media, we share part of our lives there, and we get to peer into others’ lives as well. This can be a double-edged sword, however. What if you are experiencing harassment over the internet? To learn more about cyberbullying and how to identify it, keep reading…
“If there are no heroes to save you, then you be the hero.”
Detecting cyberbullying starts with awareness of its different forms
When you think about internet harassment, you probably think about insults or threats on instant messenger and social media. But it isn’t just that. If you want to be able to detect cyberbullying, you have to understand that it takes different forms. This is the first tip.
If someone takes your identity on some social media platform and uses it to send messages with your name and picture, you are a victim of harassment. Another kind of cyberbullying is when someone edits your photos in an offensive way or tags your photos with insults.
Another type of cyberbullying is recording you or taking photos of you and publishing them without your consent. The perpetrator might publish them in any number of social media platforms. In any case when someone uses technology to do something to you that you find unpleasant or offensive, you are experiencing harassment.
Evaluating, gathering information, and telling others is key to detect cyberbullying
Now you understand what constitutes harassment in the cyber world. So what should you do if you find yourself in this situation? Here is the second tip – analyze and evaluate what happened. You need to reflect on how the events are affecting you on a personal and social level.
There are several possible scenarios. In the first place, this might just be a joke among friends that doesn’t mean anything and doesn’t affect you. However, it could also be a situation in which you feel offended, insecure, and hurt. That leads us to our third important tip – tell someone else about what is happening.
“Don’t let yourself be mistreated in silence. Don’t allow yourself to be a victim. Don’t let anyone else define your life. Define yourself instead.”Share
If you are a minor, the best thing is to go to your parents or teachers . They will help you resolve the problem in the best way possible. But you don’t have to talk to them exclusively. You can also talk to friends or classmates who can help you with your problem. They can also offer understanding and support.
That leads to our fourth tip – gather information about the situation. Don’t get rid of it, as unpleasant as it might be. What happened, when did it happen, and how long did it go on for? Who is involved and what are their intentions? What triggered this issue?
Once you identify cyberbullying you have to try and find a solution
Being a victim of online harassment is unfair and painful. It is crucial to try to find a way to stop it. This leads to our last important tip – look for solutions, and set them in motion. As we mentioned before, these are complex problems. Consequently, you shouldn’t be ashamed or afraid to ask for help.
“Often the right path is the one that may be hardest for you to follow. But the hard path is also the one that will make you grow as a human being.”
-Karen Mueller Coombs-
To do this, you have to analyze the information that you have collected. You must decide if you can talk directly with the people involved to find a solution to what is happening. Again, you don’t have to do it alone! If you ask for help, that might give you the strength you need to put an end to the situation.
However, if you can’t manage to find a solution to the problem, you have to try other things. To start, you have to alert some kind of higher authority (a professor, a teacher, or a boss) so that they get involved… Remember, detecting cyberbullying is the first step to stopping it!
Images courtesy of Jay Wennington, Sergey Zolkin, and Gilles Lambert.