For many years, bullying has affected many people, both children and adults alike. It's so widespread that some people have accepted it as a normal part of life. But there's nothing about it that should be tolerated. Bullying can have adverse effects on a person's emotional well-being.
Unfortunately, despite efforts from parents and school authorities in particular, bullying hasn't stopped. It has just taken a new form. With the use of technology, one can bully another person with the use of email, text messages, and social media websites, thus the term cyber bullying. Just because it doesn't happen face to face doesn't mean it's less serious. In fact, it can hurt another person just as much.
The typical forms of bullying, which include physical, verbal and relational, can be done in the cyberspace. And the effects are the same. It leaves the person being bullied with feelings of hurt, anger, fear, helplessness, hopelessness, shame, isolation, and even guilt. Some even go as far as feeling suicidal. The physical health also suffers.
A person constantly bullied lives in fear, worrying about when and where the bully will hit him next. Cyber bullying has taken this to a higher level by tormenting people round the clock. Examples of cyber bullying include:
- sending threatening or hurtful emails and text messages
- posting embarrassing photos online without the person's consent
- spreading lies and rumors through social media websites
- creating an anti-person social networking page
What's worse, with online bullying, you never really know who's the one behind all these.
If You Are Being Bullied
It doesn't matter what age you are, if you are the target of the bullying, remember these points:
• It is not your fault. People, especially children, sometimes have this nagging guilt that it's their fault that they are being bullied. It's not.
• Never respond to cyber-bullying messages. There isn't any response that can do you good. The best way to deal with this is to completely ignore all the messages you're receiving no matter how much you want to respond to them and defend yourself. If you do this, the cyber bully will eventually get tired after seeing that you're not affected at all.
• What you can do instead is to document the cyber bullying. Save and print all the hurtful emails, text messages, and screenshots of messages posted in social media sites. This way, you'll have an evidence of what transpired.
• Block the cyber bully. Remove from your IM list, make your Facebook account private, and block him/her from your phone. Contact the internet service provider or website moderator regarding this matter. If there are threats made, report immediately to the police.
• Don't isolate yourself. Get strength from family and friends and let them know what you're going through.
• Deal with stress effectively. Bullying inflicts a lot of stress. And as you know, stress can bring about various health problems. Avoid this with stress management techniques such as exercise, hobby, meditation, and so on.
• Get help. If you're a child, talk to your parent, teacher, school counselor, or any other adult that you trust. If you're an adult, get help from your work supervisor or from a friend who can help you on this matter. You can also ask help from a support group.
Finally, don't stress yourself too much over it. Remember that there are far better things in your life to focus on than to be upset over an unhappy person who wants to afflict his/her sorrow to others.