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How to deal with online bullying

It’s anti-bullying week, so we’re looking at the topic of online bullying and what to do about it.

Jennifer Perry is a digital stalking expert and these are her top tips on how to deal with online bullying:

 

Bullying myths and action

Adults often think that online bullying is less serious than the bullying at school. The attitude is that “sticks and stones will break your bones but words can never hurt you”.
So let us clear up some myths.

First, there isn’t such thing as bullying – at least in legal terms. It is harassment and some bullying is stalking.
Secondly, if a young person is being harassed online, they are usually also being harassed offline as well. Most young people find being pushed or called names at school easier to cope with than online harassment. It is the public embarrassment, the fact that it is up 24/7 for friends, family and the victim to see over and over again, that they find so awful.
Thirdly there’s the attitude that kids will be kids, they will get over it. Bullying has long term effects on young people. It can badly affect their school performance which has long term consequences for education and careers.
The psychological effects are wide ranging and long lasting. Harassment makes people unsafe at school and home, they feel bad about themselves, that they don’t have any control in their lives and it causes problems with friends. Most victims feel they are all alone and that is what the bully wants – to make everyone ignore them.
Unfortunately, many schools still do not take effective action when it comes to bullying. This allows it to escalate. If it was addressed better in school there would be less harassment online.

What can you or your parents do?

The one most powerful piece of information to know is that the age legal responsibility is 10 –  that is when someone can be held legally responsible for their actions. If you’ve been hit, had items stolen, or been badly bullied  – you have the right to press charges. The police and school will often try to talk you out of pressing charges. That is why you and your parents have to stand up for yourself. Insist that they take action.

The most important thing is not to ignore the bullying, because the sooner you take action the less likely it is to get worse.

 

The most common tactics for bullies/stalkers:

  • Monitoring you and your friends – looking at what you post, photos, where you go, who you go with etc.
  • Sending text messages – sending hurtful or threatening messages to you over and over again
  • Account takeovers/hacking – accessing your online accounts
  • Denigration – sending, posting, or publishing cruel rumours and untrue statements to damage your reputation
  • Distributing photos or videos to embarrass you
  • Exclusion – contacting or inviting everyone but you
  • Flaming – posting an abusive response so everyone can see it
  • Outing – telling people something embarrassing about you
  • Threats and Dissemination – they threaten you and then tell everyone
  • Confidence tricks – getting you to reveal information about yourself and then using against you
  • Impersonation – pretending to be the victim either online or via email etc.
  • Trolling – say something online to get you to provoke you into responding
  • Bullying by proxy – getting others to join in

Key tips for kids

  • Block the bully AND all their close friends on Facebook. You don’t want them to use Facebook to get ammunition to bully you.
  • Delete any photos or comments that could be used to embarrass you. People who you think are your friends may pass them on.
  • Message people instead of posting on walls
  • Get a “whitelist” app so that only people in your address book can call or text
  • Use a PIN to lock/unlock your mobile
  • Don’t let friends snoop on your Facebook mobile or texts.
  • Start a hobby or sport – make friends outside of school.
  • Find out how to be assertive (not aggressive) – there are a lot of assertive training videos on YouTube
  • Keep records of all incidents day, time, what happened.
  • Take photos of any injuries or damage.
  • Make a recording of all voicemails – they aren’t kept for long
  • Take photos of the text on phones, in case the phone is damaged or stolen
  • Report incidents to the police – especially assaults, thefts and criminal damage.

Jennifer Perry, digital stalking expert

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jennifer Perry is the author of the UK’s national guidelines Digital Stalking: A Guide to Technology Risks for Victims that

were issued by Network for Surviving Stalking and Women’s Aid. Find out more from the Digital Stalking website.

 

Have you got any experience of online bullying? What did you do? What’s your advice for anyone who’s having problems like this online? Leave a comment below

 

main image credit: pipe
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3 Comments to “How to deal with online bullying”

  1. Sonya Cisco says:

    Luckily my daughter hasn’t been badly bullied, but have had to temporarily remove mobile phone from her in the past after fall outs with mates led to spiteful texts/Facebook messages.

  2. NOYON says:

    Way cool! Some very valid points! I appreciate you writing this
    post and the rest of the website is really good.

  3. Ashley says:

    yes, bullying is the worst case happening mostly with the kids in the school. This the reason for the school dropouts. After all taking the action on bullying even it is not eliminated from the children. Thank you for discussing the valid points. Found the blog interesting and useful.

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