If you're online, chances are that you've experienced online harassment. There's no way to know who will be the next victim of online bullying or cyberbullying. It could happen at any time and it can come from anyone - a stranger, someone you know, even your friends online. But there are ways to protect yourself and others against the dangers of online harassment so let's get started!
The problem has only gotten worse over time as social media has become more popular.
The first reported cases of online bullying happened in the late 1990s when teenagers began using online chat rooms to harass and bully one another. The problem has only gotten worse over time as social media has become more popular. Bullying now occurs on a variety of platforms, including Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Twitter. And it's not just kids who are being targeted - adults are increasingly becoming victims of online harassment.
What exactly is online bullying?
It can be defined as any repeated act or behavior that is intended to hurt or embarrass someone else. Online bullies often use harsh words or threatening language in their messages or posts. They may also try to get others to join in on the attacks against the victim. Cyberbullying can involve online posts, online comments, online messages or emails to the victim.
There are a few things you can do if you're being harassed online:
Avoid online bullying: If you are being bullied online, your first instinct may be to respond and try to defend yourself. Avoid this at all costs! The best way to avoid online harassment is simply not acknowledging it. Ignoring cyberbullies will frustrate them as they enjoy getting a reaction from their targets. Don't give them what they want - just ignore the messages or posts in question! You can also block bullies on social media sites so that you never have to see any of their content again. Block conversations with people who bully others online by ignoring their comments, blocking private message requests, and reporting abusive users directly through social media platforms such as Facebook and Twitter.
Report online bullying:
If you can't or don't want to ignore the online bully, another option is to report them. Most social media platforms have a reporting feature that allows you to flag abusive content. This will help the site administrators take down the offending material and block the abuser from the site. You can also contact your local police department if you feel like you're being threatened or harassed online in a way that's crossing into criminal territory.
Keep evidence of online harassment: As with any type of crime, it's always helpful to keep evidence of what happened should you need to pursue legal action. Cyberbullying can be difficult to prosecute as there often isn't physical evidence, but having screenshots or copies of threatening messages can help your case.
Bystanders have the power to stop online bullying from happening!
If you witness online bullying happening to someone else, stand up against it! Speak out against the bullies and let them know that their behavior is unacceptable. You could also report the incident to the social media platform where it's occurring so that the bully can be removed from the site. Bystanders have the power to stop online bullying from happening!
Dealing with online harassment is never fun, but taking the right steps can help keep you safe and protect others from online bullying as well. Be careful out there!
If you're being harassed online, know that you are not alone! There are people who can help and support you. Reach out to a friend, family member, or counselor for help.
Let's work together to put an end to online bullying.
The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is a national network of local crisis centers that provides free and confidential emotional support to people in suicidal crisis or emotional distress 24 hours a day, 7 days a week in the United States.