The advent of information technology and the massive adoption of same has, amongst its numerous positives, birthed a problem known as ‘cyberbullying’. Cyberbullying has, over the years, become more prevalent with the number of recorded victims increasing more and more.
Nobody deserves to be a victim of cyberbullying because its effects can be devastating. However, as much as we advocate for the appropriate netiquette, we cannot control the actions and behaviour of others.
Here are a few tips to follow if you have been a victim of cyberbullying and you don’t know what to do.
1. Talk to Someone: Staying silent in the event of cyberbullying may be more damaging to your mental stability and well-being. It is strongly advised that you talk to a trusted person, preferably an adult. You can talk to your parents, teachers, older siblings or trusted colleagues.
2. Do not be in a hurry to respond: I know sometimes bullies can be so provoking that we just want to react and hurt them back. However, that may be the wrong measure because we may just be causing further damage and scandal with our quick and unthoughtful response. Silence is sometimes the best response to a cyberbully – Do not feed a Cyberbully with the Attention they crave.
3. Keep evidence: An evidence is your proof of the harassment. It is essential that you save or download the object of the cyberbullying. It could be a conversation, an email, a picture or videos.
4. Report such person; Do not hesitate to immediately report any act of cyber-harassment or cyberbullying to the social media site or web platform it occurred. If the perpetrator is someone you know physically, you can report such person to his parents or teachers. Note: Some form of cyberbullying requires that you report to the local police or other relevant authorities within your location.
5. Block the person: A published research asserts that over 70% of teens admit that blocking the account of a cyberbully and ending any form of contact with them, is the most effective way to ensure internet safety.
6. Take preventive measures and immediately change passwords: The best way to avoid repetition is to make sure it doesn’t happen again. If your accounts were hacked, change your passwords and make them more challenging to guess or brute-force.
If need be, book a counselling session with your local therapist.