As a parent, if you saw your child posting a hurtful comment on social media about a peer, or saw they were part of a conversation that scrutinizes or put other kids in danger -- what would you do? Maybe the solution would be to immediately suspend their online privileges, or making them apologize to the victim right?

But does cyberbullying apply only to children? Would you wonder what made your child feel the need to be a bully when there are adult groups dedicated to harassing and defaming others as well? Websites have been created specifically to make fun of and demean individuals. These people can be found in communities linked to blogs and chat rooms and they use the disguise of “anonymity” to harass their prey. Sometimes, these bullies will take their online squabbles offline and press people online to harass their prey's family and friends.

What is Cyberbullying anyway?

This involves the use of information and communication technologies such as e-mail, cell phone and pager text messages, instant messaging (IM), defamatory personal Web sites, and defamatory online personal polling Web sites, to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behavior by an individual or group that is intended to harm others." – Bill Belsey, Cyberbullying Expert.

What are some examples of cyberbullying?

This  include mean text messages or emails, rumors sent by email or posted on social networking sites, and embarrassing pictures, videos, websites, or fake profiles. This type of bullying happens 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, and reach its victim even when he or she is alone. Messages and images can be posted anonymously and distributed quickly to a very wide audience and can be difficult and sometimes impossible to trace the source or deleting inappropriate or harassing messages, texts, and pictures

Many times when people hear about cyberbullying they immediately think it’s for children but did you ever think that the other players in the cyber-bullying world are grown-ups? Untethered from any moderation and free to troll the Internet as they wish, they are as malicious as the adolescent ones you work so hard to tame and protect from harm. Unfortunately no one is supervising their activity or protecting their targets.

And who are their victims?

Of course other adults. And remember that adulthood does not come with immunity to the trauma of bullying.

Everyone is entitled to the right to freedom of speech and their own opinion on issues around them. But how as it become acceptable for adults to use those privileges to abuse others? It’s funny enough that none of these folks in their proper cognizance would dare say the above comments in person else they will be slapped by the people they try to bully. Bullying is so primitive and a cowardly act. No doubt the words are typed anonymously instead of spoken.

I was bullied terribly during my teen years and even as an adult. I will never forget the overwhelming feelings of hurt and sadness their cruelty caused. See, when this happened to me as an adult, I was not that 10-year-old little girl who use to praying silently each day on the way to school that the bullies would pick on someone else that day. I could not just brush off their actions because I was grown as I was a human being who still has feelings and expects more from humanity. How can we possibly rationalize this behavior in adults? It's indisputable that grown-ups should know better, and the fact that they continue to harass is despicable and creates a long-lasting emotional sting.

But why do bullies bully?

Jealousy:  When folks are jealous of you, an inner demon takes them over. Then the  

defame, harass and discredit  you.

Insecurity: Remember that bullies are often lacking something crucial in their lives and they seek pain in others, so do not fill this void for them by giving them a reaction.

Intimidation: You are something they can never be or doing something they can never do. Hatred and envy sets in and the bullying begins.

What should you do if you are bullied?

Keep being the best at what you are doing. This angers them even more. They hate progress. Their wish is to see you cry day and night but don’t. Your reaction is exactly what they are seeking. Instead, document everything, and seek the proper authorities. Trust me, I know it is very, very difficult to not react when you see yourself and the people you love being attacked.

Unfortunately cyberbullying allows cruelty at all ages to play out in a 24-7 arena. Your keyboard can be used as a lethal weapon today, and sadly more adults especially women have caught on. I call upon you today and challenge you to replace those cyber-bullets with words of kindness. As grown-ups and leaders we need to lead by walking the talk. Every post we make public, every text message we send, every email we write, should exhibit respect for ourselves and others.

Some take home tips:

  • Speak and type with respect, because words hurts. They leave lasting scars and the scars left by bullying are very difficult to erase.
  • Do unto others as you want them to do unto you
  • Educate yourself on bullying and how to combat it.You might not be a victim, but knowing how to react when you encounter harassment can be very important. You can also help others with what you know.
  • Let’s teach ourselves and our children that it is so beautiful to care at all ages, and that being nice despite all the stones thrown at you by bullies isn’t that difficult. From boys, to girls, to adults and to entire villages – we as women and parents can make a difference by acting as cyber-shields.
  • And finally, I cannot emphasize enough about the importance of investing in yourself. Of making you a first rated version of you than a second rated or an imitation of someone else. It is magical because it takes the distraction off other people and put on you. I speak from experience. I have been bullied so badly but I decided to ignore and turn my head and focus on me and just keep going.

Always remember that your pain, does not get healed when you cause pain to others.

 The Internet, however, can be vicious, especially when you make the wrong people mad by doing well. Social media can make or mar. Be careful out there. The Internet can be a ruthless place just like life can be. Good luck, and may peace be with you.

 

 

Region North America

7Encouragement

Dear Kujamac,

This is so beautifully and powerfully written. We are very aware here in Canada of teenage cyber bullying due to the recent deaths of two young women, who were so harrassed online that they decided that killing themselves was the only way to escape the pain. You have brought to light another critically important aspect: women tearing other women down by cyber bullying. I see this post as a Resource, an opener for any groups looking for how to get discussion going to stop this form of woman (and self) hatred. Part of why your writing is so powerful is that you write from your own experience, which shifted me as your reader from caring about all women and girls who have experienced this, to being horrified that you, a sister who I am getting to know, has been subjected to this. Your advice to stay strong, to refrain from retaliating negatively, to send love instead, and above all to believe in yourself has created a blueprint for discussion for any looking to address this problem personally and/or as a group. Please consider re-posting it to the GBV Group, both as an article, and a valuable Resource.

With love in Sisterhood,

Tam

Hello Tam.

You are simply the best.I really appreciate you for always stopping by and adding your strong voice to the articles I write.How empowering.I will definitely share with other groups both in and out of World Pulse.It is a conversation that is greatly needed.In order to be great and effective leaders,we must start by walking what we talk.

Thank a lot Tam and be blessed always.

Yours truly,

kuja.

 

 

"Educate yourself on bullying and how to combat it.You might not be a victim, but knowing how to react when you encounter harassment can be very important. You can also help others with what you know." This resonates well with me because bullying to me is a chain like practice. If we adhere to the practice of being the mature person in case we are bullied then bullys will be frustrated out of the practice. I like to say that cyberbullys are people who really need our help. They lack self-esteem!!!!

Sally Maforchi Mboumien

Founder/Coordinator COMAGEND Cameroon

Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/women.girls.healthrights/

LinkedIn ID: Sally Maforchi Mboumien

Advanced Digital Changemaker 2017

Thanks Masalien's for stopping by and commenting intelligently. You're always a pillar of support and always appreciated. God bless you. Kuja.

 

 

Dear Kujamac,

This is a great article, beautifully written.  I would like to introduce some language for adults - the concept of cyber harassment, where the only difference between the cyber bullying and cyber harassment is the age of the people involved.  When children are involved it is called bullying, with adults, harassment.  

I have a strong interest in this topic because of the work I do - with mostly adults joining the digital world without an understanding of how to keep themselves safe.  We are helping women understand how to represent themselves online, including how they engage in conversations online and what to do when someone responds in a negative way.  Imagine you begin engaging online and your first experience is negative, you may not want to come back and there are amazing benefits to being online.  

I think there are many reasons why adults harass other adults online including mental illness.  We must take a stand against it - especially as new digital citizens enter the online world every day.  One action we can take is to report users on social media - take screen, take screen shots of their comments, track instant messages, etc.  As the legal systems become more advanced there will be better resources to track and punish cyber harassers.  In the meantime, sharing stories and educating others is a great way to ensure awareness as well as pushing policy makers to ensure the internet can be a safe place for women to connect.  

I love your focus on leadership by example, I do believe we can inspire others to be kind by being kind to ourselves and to others.  

Best, 

Marne 

 

Hello Marne.

Sorry it has taken me some time to to respond to this great write up.

It got a little hectic for me.Waooo! Am amazed at this well-put- together comment.

First of all thank you immensely for teaching me a new  thing.I know now that instead of Cyber bullying I have to use Cyber Harrassment when referring to adults.How brilliant.I will love to share this on our groups on Facebook because I really want as many women to learn from it.

Thank you so much.This comment is very helpful.

Kuja.

 

 

Hello,

From few month onwards I am a victim of bullying in everyplace wherever I go (I don't know I been cyber bullied or not). Early I thought she is not me , may be someone else, but I come to know it's me only because the same words(which I can't share openly)is said by few people  everywhere I go and I don't know  how to handle this torture and it's very shameful. I can give some evidences and that says I  was bullied. But I don't know what to do for this problem and I don't want to sit silent and allow others to bully me more. I want to stop this, and go for necessary legal action against the people who doing this to me, please help.

Thanks,

Archana Janardhana