Bullying on the Internet: Cyberbullying

What is Cyberbullying - Bullying on the internet

The post is developed in partnership with BetterHelp.

The internet has transformed our lives in more ways than one. In many ways, it has benefited us greatly. We have access to endless information and free resources that can help educate and inform us. Internet access also allows us to keep up with friends and update those we have not seen in a while.

On the other hand, the internet does not come without its faults. Many people abuse the freedom or luxury of their access. For example, some people will bully others through these online platforms.

Discover more about bullying on the internet, why people do it, and its effects. Also, learn what you can do to help stop it!

What is Cyberbullying?

To understand cyberbullying, you must first understand the definition of bullying. According to Promote Prevent,

“Bullying is a repeated aggressive behavior where one person (or group of people) in a position of power deliberately intimidates, abuses, or coerces an individual intending to hurt that person physically or emotionally.”

When someone experiences cyberbullying, they are experiencing bullying through some online platform. This could include making rude comments on a social media account, sending vulgar pictures, or posting things to harm the recipient’s feelings, image, or wellbeing. 

You can learn more about the different types of bullying and their effect on a person’s mental health and overall wellbeing by reading articles provided and medically reviewed by BetterHelp.

Examples of Cyberbullying

A young man comments on a girl’s Instagram photo. If he is cyberbullying her, he may make negative or crude comments about her body, appearance, or life.

A teenage girl sneakily takes an indecent photo of a classmate. If she is a cyberbully, she may send it to everyone she knows at school.

Individuals that send discriminating messages to people they do not like are cyberbullies.

If you are being cyberbullied, you may receive harassing and threatening messages. Many cyberbullies threaten to inflict physical pain or even death on someone.

A person that intentionally trolls a celebrity or influential person is also a cyberbully! When you make offensive comments to anyone online it can be considered cyberbullying.

The Effects of Experiencing Bullying

If you or someone you know is being cyberbullied, you may experience many negative effects. For example, people who are bullied are more likely to develop mental health disorders. For example, anxiety, panic, depression, and chronic stress. In severe cases, people may even experience post-traumatic stress disorder and suicidal thoughts.

Bullying can also cause someone to have low self-esteem, fright, and constant worry. When someone is continuously bullied, it can harm their mental health, physical health, and overall wellbeing.

What To Do If You Are Being Bullied

Stand Up for Yourself

The purpose of a bully, in-person or online, is to intimidate and control the recipient of the bullying. In most cases, the individual knows that they are doing wrong by bullying and in very few cases, they are unaware of their actions. You must stand up for yourself. You can do this by using concise and strategic language toward your bully. Use phrases such as

“I would appreciate it if you did not speak to me that way”

“I think it would be best if we did not spend time together”

“Could you not do that, please”

There is never a guarantee that standing up for yourself will solve the problem immediately, but it will boost your self-confidence. If speaking or messaging your bully does not work, it is critical that you turn to someone else who can help.

Seek Help

If you are experiencing cyberbullying, it is pertinent that you seek immediate help.

You can talk to a variety of people who can assist you. For example, school-aged individuals can seek help from a guidance counselor, parent, or trusted adult. As an adult, you can talk to a friend or therapist about your situation.

No matter your age, if you believe someone intends to physically harm you or someone you love, you should seek help from an authority figure such as the police.

Distance Yourself

After talking to someone and standing up for yourself, it may be time to distance yourself from your bully. Sometimes you may know your cyberbully in real life. And in some cases, they are just as intense and rude in person as they are online.

In these cases, it is important to distance yourself from this person. They may be your classmate, coworker, or boss. No matter who they are, try and find ways to keep your distance. For example, consider eating lunch with a trusted friend or staying with other people when you know they will be near.

You can also distance yourself online by blocking their number, removing their social connections with you, and by not adding unknown numbers/accounts.

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