Guest writer: Jennifer Cassetta, clinical nutritionist, personal trainer and self-defense expert.
The term cyberbullying refers to a wide range of activities that include: cruel online posts or pictures, online negative comments, threats and harassment, and stalking through emails, texts or social media.
The bully gets to remain anonymous by hiding behind a screen name or username. This is very appealing to cowards because they get to sit home and belittle people and most likely never be held accountable. It’s the lowest form of communication coupled with a very insecure and unstable person.
A person of any age can be susceptible to cyberbullying, simply by having a profile of any kind online. Perhaps you are a public figure and there are articles written about you, or you the one writing articles or you simply could post a comment on an article. In any of those situations, you could be targeted by a cyberbully. However, young adults and children are more likely to targeted by cyberbullies.
If you have children, check in on their social media as much as possible and look for clues of cyberbullies or even cyberstalking. Are your kids engaging with strangers?
If you or your kids encounter cyberbullying behavior, here are some options on how to deal with it:
- Completely ignore.
The best way to a bully’s ego is to engage with him or her. You may really want to defend yourself, your stance, or your child, but the best reaction is none at all.
Most sites will allow you to delete a comment and block the user from your posts. I highly recommend this! That way you won’t attract more trolls who want to add their negativity.
- Keep track of all cyberbullying.
Record dates, times and screenshots of it all.
Depending on the severity of the comments, reporting can vary. On most social media platforms you can report abuse and this should be done immediately. If you have a bully that is stalking you on multiple social media platforms then you should escalate your reporting to law enforcement. Also, if the harassment contains any of the following, you should immediately report to law enforcement: threats of violence, child pornography or sending sexually explicit messages or photos, taking a photo or video of someone in a place where he or she would expect privacy, stalking and hate crimes.
For more information, go to www.stopbullying.gov.