Cyber Bully on Social Media

With advances in technology and the recent explosion in popularity of social media sites such as Facebook, Linkedin, and Google+, the incidence of the cyber bully is becoming more prevalent in today’s society. Despite all the positives that come from a more connected society and the world, cyberbullying has quickly become a major concern for schools and law enforcement agencies.

A cyber bully is a person who willfully and intentionally causes stress on another person via the internet. A cyber bully can reach the person in any number of ways such as via email, social media sites or through text messages. The bullying can include personal threats, sexual remarks, insulting comments or hateful speech. The bully may also post private information about their victim online.

This trend of cyber bullying is relatively new and therefore has not been researched as much as traditional bullying. It’s safe to say however that person who is bullies in the traditional sense are likely to engage in cyber bullying as well. What exactly makes a person become a cyber bully will vary from person to person. One factor that is common is amongst traditional bullying and cyber bullying is that the instigator experiences low self-esteem and can be quite insecure. They want to hurt someone else to feel good about themselves. Another common factor is naivety. A lot of kids bully other kids online because they think that it’s funny. They don’t think in terms of what they are truly putting their victims through.

Most cyber bullies do not realize the harm that they cause in their role as a cyber bully. There have been a large number of adolescents and young adults who have committed or attempted suicide because of this dangerous trend. A lot of the victims who have taken this measure have been young girls who were bullied relentlessly online by other girls and young men who were wrongly accused of being homosexual. These bullies use the internet to say and do things that they would never do in person hence the attacks tend to be more vicious in their nature. In a lot of ways, this may be more dangerous than traditional bullying.

My personal experience with cyber bully

One would think that at my age (I’m 29) I would not have to deal with cyber bullies, and I had wrongfully believed that cyber bullies were just young kids and teenagers making fun of their peers online up until a couple of years ago when I began developing and managing various websites.

One of the more recent websites I have managed provides users with news and current events from the perspective of multiple authors who are all United States military veterans. After the website had gone live the authors had begun to receive many compliments for the quality of content they were producing. However, it did not take long before adult cyber bullies (also known as trolls) began to rear their foul-mouthed heads.

At first, I was horrified. I could not believe the nastiness written in the comments section of many of the articles. I was forced to make a choice: Should I argue with them and feed their egos or should I ignore them? I can’t lie — It was a tough choice. As much as I wanted to rip apart their illogical arguments (along with a few arms, legs, and ears) I knew that I would be playing right into their hands so I chose to ignore them.

A smart choice. After a couple of weeks of not responding to their taunts, the trolls began to fade away. Not that their activity has stopped completely but the regular visiting trolls seem to have focused their energy on other endeavors for a while.

As an adult, I knew not to take those comments personally but I remember being so frustrated for a while. It wasn’t until this all happened that I realized how tough it would be growing up as a child today where the Internet and easy anonymity is pervasive in society. I think I was eight when my family bought its first computer and I took my first taste of the Internet. But back then there was no Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, or texting so I never even thought twice about being bullied online. I can only imagine what kids today have to deal with.

That’s why it is important to realize that even adults are capable of cyber bullying, and just like children, many adults might not even realize that their actions constitute bullying. Bad habits like smoking, unhealthy eating, and spitting can be easily passed on from parent to child. Try to make sure that cyber bullying isn’t one of those bad habits that you pass on to yours.

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