I read the story of one Monica Lewinsky who was entangled in a love triangle with then president of the United States- Bill Clinton. I then watched her on Ted Talks as she gave an account of how she was subjected to public humiliation on a global scale as people intruded her private life because of a mistake she deeply regrets. She had had a love affair with the most unlikely person and had to pay for mistakes with her dignity. A price too dear for her to pay – the price of shame.
Closer home, a local TV station aired a program which entailed matching up two people who would later go on a blind date with the possibility of another date in the future or a relationship. This time, the program featured a guy who came from a place the lady described as ‘ghetto’. The video went viral. Many people believed the lady acted in pride. What followed was a barrage of insults and terse remarks aimed at hurting her. Notwithstanding her dignity, she was trolled and disgraced by people hiding behind the comfort of the computers or phones.
These two scenarios describe a situation you would not wish to find yourself in. It however describes a situation many women find themselves in although it doesn’t get as much publicity. It has been talked about but still there are no clear measures to arrest these people who troll others. This form of online humiliation or attack is known as Cyber bullying.
Cyber bullying is fast gaining root in the world and this could be attributed to technological advancement and people being constantly online. The web offers certain anonymity to the perpetrators of this vice such that they can create and bully people from a fake social media account. It affects men as much as it affects ladies. However, psychologists argue that women are more likely to be subjected to this kind of bullying as compared to their male counterparts partly because men are not as affected by stuff posted online as ladies are. Men would rather square it out face-to-face unlike ladies who avoid violent people.
As you can see from this image above this lady was bullied just because she is black. There are also other stories. Read them here.
Nobody is safe as long as you have shared content online. People can pick on you from the pettiest of things you do. It can be devastating if you are caught unawares and do not know how to handle it. Sometimes it occurs because you were reckless with your account or a vexed lover decided to publicly humiliate you. Here’s how you can prevent cyber bullying:
Keep passwords personal
There is a reason as to why your password should be known only by you. You have heard or been a victim of cyber bullying as a result of people who accessed your accounts without your consent and they may end up messing you up. Ensure that you passwords are hard to crack and don’t share them with anyone.
Always log out
You receive a text message from your boss or relative while in town. They sent you an email and attached a file that is too large to view on your phone so you look for the nearest cyber cafe and view it then leave forgetting to log out. This is very dangerous. The next client to use that computer may be malicious and subject you to this type of bullying.
Consider what you share online
It is inappropriate to share confidential information as this will only make you an easy target for cyber bullying. There is nothing as ‘private’ on the internet. Take down those photos of your kids or spouse that may be used to troll you.
Here are some ways you could handle it if happened to you.
Take a break from social media
Prior to the advent of social media, you still woke up, did your duties and retired to bed unawares of what happened elsewhere as there was no social media. This is to say that you can survive without it. If you become a victim, don’t cling on it as though your life is pegged on it. Take a break as you let the bullies forget about your existence. This is not about you being weak; it is about you preventing further damage.
Report to the police
Although there are no clear laws or systems to nab the cyber bullies, it is appropriate to alert the police who would then hunt for the person. Once the news is out in the public domain that punishment would be meted out on anyone who bullies you, the bullying will definitely go down. The cyber bullying might be on a grave matter that needs the attention from the police. Do not withhold this information.
Confide in a true friend or counsellor
A problem shared is a problem half solved. This is particularly true in a situation where you need someone to stand by you and listen. This person might be your best friend or a counsellor who will give you advice and walk with you during your trying times.
Cyber bullies are cowards that hide behind a computer or a phone and send you disturbing images or messages. They thrive on seeing you sad. So whenever you respond, they send even more disturbing messages. The best thing to do is not to feed their ego by responding but blocking them so that they are unable to ever access you.
Cyber bullying is one of the worst forms of mental torture. Try as much as you can to avoid it. If you become a victim, follow the right procedure and hopefully you will be fine.