Wednesday 12 August, 2020

How to: 6 Ways to deal with cyberbullying and online harassment

There are ways to fight cyberbullies without physical violence or self-harm.

There are way more forms of online bullying and harassment in this day and age than ever before.

We are in the platinum age of communication. From Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, BiP to Whatsapp, we have several ways to talk to each other.

Navigating online spaces is tricky and dealing with cyberbullies is not easy but here are a few tips:

1. Don’t respond to bullying with more bullying
This will only make things worse and will drag on the situation longer than it should.

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2. Try your best not to take the comments personally
Someone online who doesn't know you has no clue about your lived experiences. So try your best to pay them no mind. Rude comments say more about them than they do about you.

Eleanor Roosevelt is quoted as saying: “Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” Remember that.

3. Avoid reading or re-reading offensive comments.
You will just be torturing yourself reading harmful comments over and over. Just report the comments and move on. Use the block button or restrict options without fear.

4. Be open-minded. Everyone is not you nor do they think as you do.
Try to be as open to others’ thoughts and opinions as possible. Recognise lots of people can be right. A comment may seem rude but after some thought, it may just be a different perspective.

5. Try the 30-second rule to writing online
Before posting anything online, give yourself 30 seconds before hitting send. Look back at the message and ask yourself how would you feel if someone wrote this to or about you.

Think about this like Rotary's Four-Way Test. It is used for Rotarians' personal and professional relationships. Rotarians recite this test at club meetings: Of the things we think, say or do:

  1. Is it the TRUTH?
  2. Is it FAIR to all concerned?
  3. Will it build GOODWILL and BETTER FRIENDSHIPS?
  4. Will it be BENEFICIAL to all concerned?


6. Put the phone down
Sometimes it is best to just turn all your electronic devices down and just get away from technology. Go do something completely different so you are no longer in that online space anymore.

Using our favourite technology or social media apps doesn't mean we have to be victims of cyberbullying or perpetrators of it.

Let's just try to be more mindful of what we say to others online and try to make these spaces safer for everyone. Also, limit what enters your space.

You have your own social media remote control, switch the channel to what gives you peace of mind! 

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