Most people will tell you it’s not that big a deal when you are being cyberbullied. But it is a big deal because someone is purposely targeting you to cause you psychological harm. It’s more than just a bunch of rude comments coming your way. It’s also spreading rumours to damage your reputation, forwarding explicit or personal images or information, or even purposely excluding you from online groups.
Online bullying can be much scarier than physical bullying because you can feel like there’s no escape. But recognising that you have the power to stop your tormentor is the first step to putting an end to it. This blog will show you how to stop cyberbullying.
First, let’s understand why
The anonymity of the internet frees cyberbullies from conforming to social norms. These anonymous spaces create a vast gathering of alienated, disaffected, voiceless and just plain unsocialised people. They are players in a game without rules. The only way you can win is not to play the game.
Keep these key aspects in mind to escape the clutches of cyberbullies:
Know that it’s not your fault: Don’t blame yourself, you don't deserve to be treated cruelly.
Do not give them power: Retaliating shows them that they’ve had an effect on you.
Keep a record: Take screenshots of everything. If you don’t know the bully, record as many details as you can about them such as their profile picture, username or cellphone number. If things escalate, you’ll have the evidence you need to present your case.
Speak to the bully: Our interactions with people are extremely subjective, sometimes the bully might not know their actions are causing you harm because their definition of bullying is different to yours. Let them know you are not okay with it.
Use tools to your advantage: Do not put your trust in social platforms. These platforms often do not have the systems in place to prevent cyberbullying. You need to take matters into your own hands. You can block someone on social media and even report them. Understand the intricacies of the platforms you are using, especially the privacy settings. Leave an online community altogether if it’s negatively affecting you.
Keep your passwords safe: Don’t share your passwords with anyone, even people you might consider your friends.
Ask for help: It’s okay to reach out for help, there will always be someone there for you. Talk to an adult you trust such as your parents, a teacher, school administrators, counsellors and even police officers.
If you don’t want to speak to anyone: You can go to the magistrate’s court and ask for a protection order to be issued. Children can approach the magistrate’s court without an adult present. The person you need to approach is the clerk of the court. Google your location to find the magistrate’s court closest to you.
- American actress and singer Brittany Snow says: "You are not alone in this. There are so many people going through the same thing. Just know you are stronger than any voice that brings you down."
Important resources in the fight against cyberbullying
Adcock Ingram Depression and Anxiety Helpline
0800 70 80 90
Destiny Helpline for Youth and Students
0800 41 42 43
Suicide Crisis Line
0800 567 567
SA Depression and Anxiety Group
011 234 4837
24-hour helpline: 0800 12 13 14
Akeso Psychiatric Response 24-hour helpline
0861 435 787
011 715 2000
082 231 0805
Lisa Burger (social worker)
083 266 0352