Another post by the fantastic Lucy Rose this week. Thank you, Lucy, for allowing me to share this.
Cyberbullying has become a huge global issue now that people are spending more and more time online, and across multiple different social media platforms. There is no doubt that social media has a great responsibility when it comes to safeguarding users from harm, but this can be hard to manage without breaching someone’s privacy.
There are however certain steps that can be taken online to put a stop to cyberbullying, and it’s important that anyone who thinks that they may be a victim of cyberbullying, seeks support and advice in order to take action and put a stop to it rather than suffer in silence. Research shows that only 38% of young peopleare willing to admit it to their parents. So this goes to show that there is still work to do in order to break the stigma and humiliation around it and to educate people on the steps to take if they think they may be a victim of cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying can affect anyone
Cyberbullying can affect anyone, regardless of age, gender hobbies or occupation, and it can affect people to different degrees of severity. Cyberbullying can be defined as “the use of digital technologies with an intent to offend, humiliate, threaten, harass or abuse somebody”. It can be very damaging to someone’s self-esteem and overall mental health, so it is important that people know how to deal with and combat cyberbullying if they think that they are being targeted.
Don’t suffer in silence
The first thing that someone should do if they think they are being targeted is to talk about it. Whether it be a friend or family member, discussing it will help to lessen the burden and enable the victim to seek much needed support and advice. If the victim is a young person of school age, it should definitely be flagged up with the schools safeguarding team so that they are aware of it and can offer support and take steps to put a stop to it. If the cyberbullying is of a serious nature, for example if someone feels as if their personal safety is threatened or the perpetrator is sharing out their personal information online, then this could be a matter for the police.
If someone receives an intimidating and spiteful message that intends to harm or harass the victim, then there is no doubt that this would constitute cyberbullying. The golden rule is to never respond, as this can quickly escalate the situation and make matters worse. The cyberbully is looking for someone to retaliate, so that they can continue with the torment and take it to the next level.
Screenshot for evidence
You should keep records of any offences in the form of a screen shot or by taking a picture of the screen so you can provide evidence if you need it. This would be important if it was a matter for the police or a safeguarding team at school or in the workplace.
Block and report
While it is hard for social media platforms to control and prevent cyberbullying from happening all together, most platforms do have a function to report any offensive material and to block certain contacts. So you should ensure that you block the individual in question across all social media platforms and report any offensive content. By following the above steps you can take the necessary action to stop cyberbullying in its tracks and seek much needed support along the way.
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