Cyber Bullying

What

Why

How

The Packages

Tips

Netiquette

FAQ

Two Sides

Contact

 

Cyber bullying is a particularly insidious and cowardly form of bullying that is becoming rampant in our society due to the advances in technology and our societal inertia towards “difficult problems”.

Dealing with Cyber Bullying – Tips and Tricks


Block the messages from known bullies. Don’t read it!

What happens when you see the name of a bully (or their number) come through on your phone?

Does your heart skip a beat? Are you overcome with a sense of dread? Do you become anxious, knowing this message could really hurt you, and you know you’ll be upset?

If you answered yes to any of the above questions or if this sounds familiar, don’t give your personal power away! Every time you read a hurtful message you are giving away your personal power (giving away another piece of your self esteem and self confidence).  Don’t Do It!

Step 1 - Blocking

Instead of reading hurtful messages, block them. When it comes to some mobile phones, most online chat programmes (MSN Messenger) or online games, there is an option to add someone to an ignore list or a method to block them.

By blocking the message, you could smile to yourself knowing that the bully has wasted their money trying to hurt you. Bullies are persistent people, even if they get notified that they are being ignored or blocked, it may take some time, and several attempts on their part before they realize that their attempts to hurt you is costing them time and (often their parents) money.

In some circumstances it might not be all that easy to block a message (for example with some mobile phones there is not a blocking option). If this is the case and you cannot block the messages or for some reason a message gets through, all you need to do is: ignore and delete.

Step 2 – Ignore and Delete

Never respond to the message. Some bullies are known in the Gamer’s World as “Flamers”. A Flamer likes to say things to push your buttons in order to get a response. Flamers exist in online games, on forums and Facebook. (See: Types of Cyber Bullies – Flamers and Trolls)

When they send a nasty message to you, the bully then begins to wait for your reply. When they get it, whether they are alone or with friends, they will most likely laugh at whatever you have replied. The joke for them is that you replied. You cannot win this game, so don’t enter into it. By ignoring the bully, you know you have the bully waiting and waiting for your reply…..Now you have the control. As they become more impatient for you to reply they may send more messages……ignore and delete and smile to yourself. The bully by becoming impatient is showing to you, that they are beginning to realize they are not controlling you, they may become angry and send more messages…..ignore and delete them. Keep control of your own personal power, don’t give in and reply. The minute you reply the bully knows that they have you, and you’ll have to start again to regain your control.  

Step 3 - Tell Someone

Always talk with your parents about the cyber bullying, let them know what is happening. If you can’t speak with your parents, talk to another adult you trust (religious leader, uncle, aunty etc) or phone Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800) you can also check out the online resources available at the Cybersmart website.

If you have a strong support network of people you can confide in, it will help you greatly.

Step 4 - Report It

Ask your parents to contact your ISP and/or phone provider or the website administrator. Legislation and relevant contracts/Eula’s (those agreement boxes you click “ok” to when you install a programme, or open an online account) are there to protect all users. Where necessary or if you are ever threatened or are concerned about your safety, tell your parents and together report it to the police. Don’t allow cyber bullying to continue to affect your life.

Step 5 - Keep the Evidence

Now this may seem contradictory to what I have previously said, because just a few short paragraphs back I have said delete, and this is why it is important for you to talk to a trusted adult.

If you have messages and texts blocked – you won’t know about the nasty hurtful comments made either to you or about you. If messages somehow get through to you – delete them and again you won’t know.

But if you receive a text message, or a forum post that is threatening you, with an act of violence or physical harm, it is important to keep the message and talk to a trusted adult immediately. Do not give someone who threatens you a second chance! If you and your parents consider the matter serious, it is important to report it to the police. When reporting it you should provide the police with a copy of the message.

Types of Cyber Bullies – Flamers and Trolls

In the online world there are two distinct types of cyber bullies, these are separate to a typical cyber bully. All people who belittle, attack, humiliate or otherwise harass someone online are cyber bullies, Flamers and Trolls however are often not known to their target.

Flamers

Flamers will often say hurtful comments, or comments that they know will cause you to bite, and once you respond, once you bite, they get what they are after, they feel good for making you bite. The way to deal with a Flamer or a cyber bully is the same: ignore. If the bully has nothing to reply to, then they will lose interest.

The second step is to delete: in circumstances where the messages or comments are not of a threatening nature, the best solution is to delete the message, but remember do not respond, once the message is deleted so are the comments, and if you let it, so is the pain and sadness they brought. (See: How to Deal with the Effects of Cyber Bullying)

If the message does contain threats, please see “Tell Someone”, “Report It” and “Keep the Evidence”, below.

Before moving on, people who are bullied by cyber bullies need to remember one thing above all else: If someone needs to get their joy, to get their happiness from trying to upset someone especially from the fictitious safety of the Web, ask yourself what does that tell you about them? These sad individuals are not worthy of a response, they are showing the highest degree of cowardice. The message then is simple; don’t waste your time and energy responding to them.

Trolls

Trolls are more or less the forum version of Flamers. Trolling is the act of posting comments on forums, Facebook, and other similar mediums to either bait people (i.e. Flaming) or to attack someone. They do this often to divert a forum topic, but with ever increasing frequency the motives of trolls have been used for the malicious acts of bullying. Trolls usually do not act under their own name, they use an alias to attack a person and post hurtful comments, basically the text version of a school yard bully.

Dealing with Trolls and Trolling is as simple as dealing with Flamers, if they are posting on your Facebook page, make your page private, that way only your friends can post comments. If a friend is posting the remarks, remove them as a friend on Facebook. This does not mean you lose contact with everyone, this means you are taking control of your life. You are choosing the people with whom you want to associate; you are taking a stand and taking back your personal power.

Along with ignoring and deleting, the final way to deal with Trolls is to report their post to the forum Moderator. The moderator will review the post/s and will delete offending ones. This process applies to almost all forums and Facebook type pages.

When it comes to forums, it’s important not to revisit the posts, (sometimes we are tempted to have a quick peek) if the post offends you, don’t go back, if it’s an attack on you report it. If you revisit the posts, then every time you re-read the posts, you are allowing more pain to come through to you and you are giving away your own self confidence and self esteem. When you re-read the messages you hand your personal power over to the cyber bullies. Don’t do it!


How to deal with the Effects of Cyber Bullying


When you don’t respond to a text message, you save your money! Never waste time and energy or money on a cyber bully. They’re just not worth it. Always delete any messages that come through, you must protect yourself from your own curiosity because once you read the message you are giving away your own personal power. Your personal power or self esteem and self confidence is very precious and delicate, don’t risk it on bullies. Keep your self esteem and self confidence for something you want to do, or achieve, or be and become.

As previously stated, when a message does come through and you see and recognize the name, often we become anxious - our body is preparing for the pain and hurt. When this happens, take six deep, slow breaths. Think to yourself a positive affirmation (See “Tips for Students who are being Bullied”). Know and believe in your heart that it’s the cyber bully who has the problem.

Think another positive affirmation and claim back another piece of your personal power (self esteem and self confidence) because you got through this, the cyber bully didn’t succeed. You didn’t respond, but deleted instead – well done!

I don’t know how old you are as you read this page, but if it is appropriate; learn to meditate. Meditation is wonderful to help reduce anxiety; it helps to “rest the mind”. It protects us against stress if we do it regularly. If you can, please learn about and practice meditation.

Starfish_Tiger_ActYou may wonder why I say to you to block or delete messages and texts, insisting that it is better for you not to know about the nasty comments and hence, not be hurt by them. Well, have you ever gone into a room, let’s say into the kitchen to make a sandwich on the kitchen bench. Now, what if there was a huge big spider in a corner watching you make the sandwich…..but remember you don’t know it’s there? How do you feel? Probably ok, because you don’t know the spider is up there watching you, so you’ll casually walk into the kitchen and make your sandwich.
Now think about what would happen if you wanted to go into the kitchen to make a sandwich, but just as you were stepping into the kitchen, you noticed the spider. Now, (if you’re like me), there is no way I would be stepping into the kitchen. In fact, I’d go hungry rather than risk going into the kitchen with a spider! So the point, I’m trying to make is: hurtful nasty comments damage our self esteem and self confidence, and when we do not believe in ourselves we stop ourselves from doing what we want…..just like not getting a sandwich because of a spider in the corner.

Starfish_Tiger_ActAnother way of looking at this is to imagine the nasty and hurtful comments as arrows flying through the air. If they hit you, they will hurt, but if they miss they have no effect on you. So, by ignoring and deleting, the nasty comments it’s as if they miss you (as in you don’t know about them) they won’t hurt you, they simply fly pass and land in the ground. But the important thing is that they don’t hurt you.

Starfish_Tiger_ActTo understand this better, imagine your self esteem and self confidence is a big pie. Every time you read or hear a nasty hurtful comment it’s like a bite is taken out of the pie. So your self esteem and self confidence is getting smaller and smaller…..you are losing your inner power! By ignoring the nasty hurtful comments, you are stopping the bullies from taking a bite from your pie of self confidence and adding it to their own. You are protecting yourself. You’re not getting back; you’re simply protecting your own personal inner power.