Cyberbullying & Adults

I find the term a bit odd, cyberbullying. Makes me thing of robots or something similar, but that is not the meaning of the word at all.

According to the RCMP in Canada, Cyberbullying involves the use of communication technologies such as the Internet, social networking sites, websites, email, text messaging and instant messaging to repeatedly intimidate or harass others.

Cyberbullying includes:

  • Sending mean or threatening emails or text/instant messages.
  • Posting embarrassing photos of someone online.
  • Creating a website to make fun of others.
  • Pretending to be someone by using their name.
  • Tricking someone into revealing personal or embarrassing information and sending it to others.

Bullying can be a traumatic experience, and some forms of bullying can even be considered illegal.

 Defamatory Libel

Spreading rumors about someone

Criminal Harassment

Repeated tormenting online, with texts, phone calls, and/or emails causing the other person to fear for their safety

Child pornography

Sharing intimate photos and videos of minors (under the age of 18)

Uttering Threats and Extortion

Threatening to share someone’s personal information to others if they don’t do what you want them to do

Assault

Threats or acts of non-consensual force, violence, bodily harm, or destruction of personal property

Identity Theft/Fraud

Creating a fake online profile to ruin someone’s reputation

All are pretty serious in my mind. For all of these criminal offences, it is important to notify your local police detachment or report it to CYBERTIP.CA. Based on the available information, police will decide if an investigation is warranted and whether charges may be laid.

*http://www.rcmp-grc.gc.ca/cycp-cpcj/bull-inti/index-eng.htm – information is taken from the Royal Canadian Mounted Police website*

In the USA, rules and regulations are according to the state one resides in: here is the link to the Laws, Regulations, and Policies-state by state:

https://www.stopbullying.gov/laws/index.html

Here is another link that focuses particularly on bullying and adults and what can be done:

https://cyberbullying.org/Bullying-and-Cyberbullying-Laws.pdf

https://cyberbullying.org/advice-for-adult-victims-of-cyberbullying

First, it is important to keep all evidence of the bullying: messages, posts, comments, etc. If there are ways you can determine who exactly is making the comments, document that. Second, contact the service or content provider through which the bullying is occurring. Many web sites expressly prohibit harassment and if you report it through their established mechanisms, the content and/or bully should be removed from the site in a timely manner.

Please, be careful not to retaliate or do anything that might be perceived by an outsider to have contributed to the problem. Do not respond to the cyberbully except to calmly tell them to stop.

In a country such as the USA that values free speech so highly, many people genuinely believe they can say whatever they want, to whomever they want. We know that is not true, but it isn’t clear where exactly the line is. And just because we *can* say certain things, doesn’t mean we should.

Going a step further, why do individuals engage in bullying and cyberbullying?

It may be appealing because it can be done anonymously. Stopbullying.gov describes two kinds of people who are likely to bully: those who are popular and those who are on the social fringes.

In general, bullies’ behavior usually stems from their own problems. Stopbullying.gov reports that bullies tend to have less involved parents, to be less excited about school, and to be depressed or anxious. They often have trouble controlling their emotions and impulses and find it hard to follow rules. So, can the same be said for adults who engage in this behavior?

  • The bullies themselves have been victimized online and use this defense mechanism to feel more powerful.
  • They may even be inspired by their bullying friends and join with them to victimize other people. They realize it is more fun being to be on the offending side – since they couldn’t beat them, they literally join them!
  • Sometimes, the offenders are extremely jealous of their victims. For example, a friend or a classmate has won the first prize which the offender really coveted.
  • Another major reason for online aggression is peer pressure. It is considered to be a very ‘cool’ thing. NOT!!

*Definition I came across on Quora from 2015.

A lot to take in, eh? (Canadian expression). I find any kind of bullying or cyberbullying behavior to be despicable. If someone is unhappy with who they are or their life circumstances, take measures to change it. Focus on the positive instead of the negative. We will all be affected by adversity and challenges, but it is what we do with it that matters.

Who cares if you are popular or liked by many? Focus on your true and real friends and connections. You will know who they are. They stand by you no matter what.

If you are a victim of bullying or cyberbullying report it and do something about it. Do not just ‘stand there and take it’ as the expression goes.

I have been a victim of cyberbullying and it is not a fun experience at all. Speak up-online, tell the individual to stop, but do not engage further with them. It will just encourage them to keep at it from my experience. Delete and block, and report the behavior after you have documented it.

Let’s reduce both bullying and cyberbullying-those that do it to me are asking for attention. Do not give it to them. Ignore as much as you can, but after doing the steps above first.

It is harder to do this when you know the person who is attacking you and continues to post or tries to post very negative comments on your blog. One can choose to approve the comment or not. Tough decision. As for text messages-ignore or when responding respond to them, add someone else to the message dialogue you both know for further proof of the cyberbullying. Thoughts?

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One thought on “Cyberbullying & Adults

  1. rginsberg2 says:

    Good, detailed comment about bullying / cyber-bullying. Important points made. Let’s try to stop it wherever it rears its ugly head…

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