To kick start our blogs in conjunction with Anti-Bullying Week 2018, the first subject we are covering is social media and bullying. As social media has such an extensive audience and influence today, the negative side of it is the alarming amount of cyberbullying that occurs via social media. It is important to understand the role that the internet has in bullying and how cyberbullying needs to be tackled.
Social Media and Cyberbullying
For all the good the internet has brought into people’s lives, the impact of cyberbullying on social media, especially amongst teens and youngsters, is a major problem. The fact that cyberbullies have the protection of anonymity makes cyberbullying all the more difficult to deal with. Bullies who use social media will often think that they can get away with being vile and abusive to others because they are hiding behind their keyboard or smart phone. The mentality that they are not delivering their abuse face to face makes the bully even more brazen. They may feel they will get away with the bullying as it is not direct and they don’t have to deal with the immediate consequences. This is such cowardly behaviour.
How to Deal with Cyberbullying
In order to stamp out cyberbullying on social media, teens or individuals need to know that they can talk about it with a trusted individual or organisation. Keeping their feelings in, as many people do with all other forms of bullying, may lead to anxiety, depression, or in some extreme cases, suicide. The added dilemma with cyberbullying is that the victims can be targeted 24/7 through the various forms of social media that exist.
One very effective way to deal with and ignore cyberbullying is to have a digital detox. Cancelling your social media accounts, even temporarily, has been proven to improve mental health. If you have been experiencing cyberbullying through social media, disengaging from these sites and apps can eliminate the anxiety and stress that occurs with the constant checking of your profiles. Turning off notifications is also key. Totally disengaging from any form of contact with the bully or bullies could mean that they get bored and move on and stop the bullying.
If you are being targeted by bullies on social media, make sure you report it to the forum provider. Do not engage with the bully, as that is exactly what they want — a reaction. Be bigger and stronger than the bully. Those who hide behind the platform of social media to victimise and bully others are the ones with low self-esteem and need help for their issues.