Written by Néhémie Bikin-kita
With the creation of the internet, social media, smartphones, and other smart devices that many people use every day, all day, cyberbullying – the bullying that occurs on digital and online platforms such as social media or text messaging1 – has become an increasingly common issue. We’ve been through the stats on cyberbullying, now here are some tips that may help you (or others you know) deal with cyberbullying:
1️⃣ Don’t respond
As with offline bullying, people displaying cyberbullying behaviour often do so in the hopes of getting a response out of the person being bullied; replying to them therefore empowers them even more. Instead, re-balance the power dynamics by refusing to respond2.
2️⃣ Use block/ignore features
Dealing with a constant stream of unwanted and hurtful messages can be difficult and mentally taxing, so don’t be afraid to use block or ignore features. If a person is making you uncomfortable, look for built-in tools that can stop them from contacting you3.
3️⃣ Keep the evidence
One of the good things about technology is that it allows us to save the things we see while we browse. Use this to your advantage and take screenshots or captures of the bullying that is taking place; this will be helpful when explaining the situation to an adult or, if need be, when going to the police4.
4️⃣ Report the bullying
It’s important to report the bullying as soon as it’s happening. In certain cases, reporting the incidence to social media service providers may resolve the issue, while in other cases it may be necessary to reach out to the police, who would be able to help with bullying that may be an illegal offence4.
5️⃣ Take prevention measures
Most websites’ default settings allow others to easily access your data. Making sure that your privacy settings are tight and being careful of fake accounts can help you have better control over who comments or interacts with you on your social media accounts5.
bBrave chooses to avoid using the words ‘bully’ and ‘victim’ as bullying cases may be very complex. An individual may very well fall into both categories, and labelling individuals with these categories tend to negatively affect the lives of these people.
bBrave is the first anti-bullying NGO in Malta. Its mission is to raise awareness on the different forms of bullying, to facilitate assistance for individuals suffering from bullying and for the reform of individuals displaying bullying behaviour in Malta.
The Organisation is registered with the Commissioner for Voluntary Organisations (VO 1422), the Registrar for Legal Persons (LPA-118), and Aġenzija Żgħażagħ (AZ 252/2017). bBrave is also a Core Member of the Anti-Bullying Alliance (ABA), the international coalition of organisations and individuals that are united against bullying.