Cyber bullying or social media bullying is the use of the Internet and related technologies to harm or harass other people, in a deliberate, repeated, and hostile manner. Just as Internet security deals with the abuse of information, Cyber Bullying deals with user-to-user abuse.
We know that bullying is as old as humankind but the access to Internet technologies and social media has allowed people to obtain a new outlet for their anger. As it so happens, social media has given your run-of-the-mill bully the means to do their damage anonymously.
Cyber bullies attack online via Facebook, Tumblr, Keek, Instagram, Snapchat and many other websites without anyone else seeing their dirty work or, if they mask their online identity, without the victim even knowing who they really are.
Social-media attacks may not be all too familiar since most of these attacks are completely devoid of physical violence, they are mostly verbal or written attacks that use words to criticize and insult.
Social media bullying may also encourage gang behavior. Instead of one bully, we have an aggressor and a number of followers. One begins by calling a teenage girl a “slut” on Facebook, and before you know it, others are joining in, verbally tearing down the victim in the most public social media way, giving everyone the potential to be a cyber bully.
So how is it that we go about dealing with these aggressors? As with several Internet issues you have to take into account the source and the medium. When dealing with the technologies several business owners as well as educational facilities utilize the same Internet security software and appliances technologies that multinational companies use to guard their financial data, customer information, and medical records.
These security measures are:
- Filtering objectionable content.
- Limiting access to certain site categories
- Limiting allowed sites with application control.
- Staying current on trends.
- Implementing awareness campaigns.
Taking steps to prevent the misuse of the technology is essential for cyber bullying to stop, but more importantly, business owners as well as users need to be educated as to mitigating such threats.
How to avoid cyber bullying:
- Never post your personal information online:
Your full name, address, phone number, school name, passwords, or any other information that would be used to try and contact you offline. This rule applies also to the personal information of others
- Don´t believe everything you read:
An issue with the Internet is that anyone can hide behind a computer, so you never really know who you are communicating with.
- Do not respond to angry messages with anger:
It is best to step away from the computer and cool down. Think carefully before you send an emotion-driven message. Spontaneous and emotional messages can turn out to be offensive and hurtful.
If you are sent a hateful message from a cyber bully resist the urge to respond. A reaction is exactly what a cyber bully is looking for.
- Beware of certain topics:
Keep in mind that the Internet is global and includes a mix of cultures, genders and ages. What is ok to say or talk about in the U.S. may not be ok in China, Australia or Poland. Try and be respectful to others when discussing controversial topics such as religion, politics, gender, or war.
- Don´t post or e-mail anything that is highly private:
If you have something private to share, it is best to talk to the person face to face or on the phone. Messages can be misled or sent to the wrong person unintentionally and then be used by cyber bullies to harass you.
Bullies may never, ever truly go away, and social media is simply that latest way for them to reach you, but the fight against bullies in the real world and online has become an actual movement, resulting in anti-bullying months like this one. So whether you have been exposed to cyber bullying, or are just brushing up on ways to handle it for your employees, Huntleigh has your back! From network security to information on how to handle bullies- we are here for you.
Written by Alex Morales.