Dealing with Cyberbullying
If you think that you know someone who is being cyberbullied, the most important thing is to ensure that they are physically and mentally safe and supported. This and more tips on dealing with cyberbullying.
When online behaviour slides into abuse and harassment, it can sometimes be called cyberbullying. Here’s some guidance on how people can tackle this behaviour:
How to tell if someone you know is being cyberbullied
Just as in the real world, sometimes bullying can happen in the online world too. This can be difficult to spot at times, but there are some notable tells. Special media platforms, and devices that were previously seen as a favorite by an individual may suddenly be avoided by them. Or, perhaps the person appears nervous or seems distant, and avoids talking about their online activities. Perhaps when discussions around these activities occur in a group setting, they appear visibly upset, or angry.
What to do if someone you know is being cyberbullied
If you think that you know someone who is being cyberbullied, the most important thing is to ensure that they are physically and mentally safe and supported. It’s essential they understand that there is someone that they can talk to about what they’re going through. This may be you, another trusted friend or adult, or a concerned authority. The priority in this instance is to make the person feel secure. It is critically important to investigate allegations thoroughly and to make a record of anything you find. Sometimes, the best option may be to notify the family that there may be an issue. Many times, people do not openly discuss issues related to cyberbullying out of fear of being judged or misunderstood. The key to overcome this roadblock is to ensure someone with experience and capable of helping is involved. Approach everything with compassion and empathy.
What to do if someone you know is bullying people online
There may be underlying reasons as to why a person is behaving in this way, and this is important to keep in mind. Much like with offline bullying, it is necessary to investigate the issue thoroughly. Once satisfied that a person is engaging in unhealthy behavior towards another person, you can assess the appropriate response in line with your organisation’s policy or your social relationship with that person.This can range from explanations around real-world harm occurring due to online actions, to formal discussions with the HR team in your organisation. It may also be necessary to involve family in the issue, or to escalate the matter to the police if deemed necessary.
Tips on digital etiquette that everyone should follow:
Be conscious that tone does not always translate to text. While your intention may be to make a sarcastic comment, for example, this doesn’t necessarily come across as intended online.
People don’t like being yelled at, and using all caps tends to make the reader think you’re shouting. They might, therefore, be more inclined to ignore your point and focus on how you’ve chosen to communicate it.
Be kind and respectful
Often when online, we’ll come across a viewpoint we disagree with. It’s important to remember to be empathetic and respectful in these instances. Challenging someone’s viewpoint is not in itself a bad thing, and can often lead to informed and healthy discussion. However, it’s essential that this is done in a civil way. A debate does not need to become a heated, personal argument.
Try to ensure that your digital footprint is positive! Write a blog on a topic close to you, display your talents, or teach someone a skill in a video. Raise money for charity, or get involved in organizing events. The list of ways to positively affect your digital footprint is endless. That said, however, you do not need to succumb to the pressure of commenting on or engaging with a topic of a conversation just because it is trending. Instead, seek and engage with new topics, issues, and micro communities that interest you. The Internet is as diverse and exciting as the world we inhabit — seek out diverse perspectives.
Lastly, try and ensure the credibility of any information that you want to reshare or spread with more people. #ThinkBeforeSharing
(This article is written by Mahima Kaul, Director, Public Policy, India & South Asia, Twitter)