By Jenny Holt
Bullying isn’t anything new, but with the evolution of social media, cell phones, and text messaging, cyberbullying is a growing problem that youth and teens face every day. While many times the aggressors only think they’re funny, it doesn’t mean that their words aren’t hurtful.
If you or someone you know has been a target of cyberbullying, try using one of these five coping mechanisms to help manage your feelings.
1. Talk with an Adult You Trust
One of the best ways to cope with being bullied online is to speak to an adult about what’s happening and how it’s making you feel. Having someone listen and understand what you’re going through, and offer ideas on how to deal with it can make a big difference. But it is important that you make it clear to the adult that you are only seeking their advice; you do not want them to jump into the situation and try to fix it for you.
2. Reframe the Way You Think
Another great coping mechanism is to take a step back from what’s being said about you online and reflect on the person saying the mean things. In nearly every case, the aggressor isn’t worth your time and their behavior reflects poorly on them – not you.
3. Use Technology to Block Cyber Aggression
Removing the aggressor from your life is one of the easiest ways to cope with someone who is harassing you online. Use the tools available on your social media profiles to block social aggression, change your privacy settings so that they can’t see your content, and delete the inappropriate messages or comments. You shouldn’t avoid doing the things you enjoy or going places you want to go, but you can remove the aggressor from your social circle.
4. When to Report Cyber Aggression to Authorities
It may go against every fibre of your being, but you can completely ignore negative postings about you. If you don’t respond, there is less likelihood that the aggressor will follow-up with more nasty postings.
However, sometimes it is necessary to go to authorities for help, but ask first for their advice on handling the situation before you ask them to intervene. That being said, no one is allowed to hurt you physically, to steal or destroy your possessions, or do other things that could objectively harm you, such as getting you kicked out of school.
If kids are writing mean things about you and encouraging others to attack you, you should go to the authorities. If someone you don’t know is trying to coerce you into meeting up with them, or sending you sexually explicit photographs, or stalking you in online games, networks or other social sites, tell your parents or another responsible adult.
5. Think Before You Post or Like
Preventing cyber aggression can be as simple as thinking before you post or even acknowledge something inappropriate. Also, you can easily refuse to like or laugh at posts where another person appears to be the subject of cyber aggression.