How to fight cyberbullying

The news events of recent years have unfortunately narrated numerous episodes of cyberbullying . According to some studies, this phenomenon now accounts for about 34% of all the various forms of bullying that are perpetrated to the detriment of millions of children from all over the world and occurs mainly via chat, or through the use of instant messaging services. and social networks.

If you have also been a victim of such unpleasant episodes, you will surely be interested in having some useful information on  how to fight cyberbullying . In the next paragraphs, in addition to providing you with “tips” that will be useful for this purpose, I will also provide you with indications on how to try to prevent the phenomenon of cyberbullying and, in the last part of the article, I will list some useful resources for parents.

I really hope that reading this guide will help you to overcome your problem with cyberbullying and, why not, help some of your friends too, if they need it. Strength and courage: make yourself comfortable, take all the time you need to concentrate on reading the next paragraphs and then try to put into practice the suggestions I will give you. There is nothing left for me to do, except wish you happy reading and, above all, wish you a huge good luck for everything!

Preventing cyberbullying

Since as they say “prevention is better than cure”, I would say to start this discussion with some tips that could be useful for preventing cyberbullying . These are tricks to be applied both in “real” life and online, which could somehow help you avoid attracting the attention of cyberbullies.

  • Treat others as you would like to be treated – don’t you want someone to make fun of you about your physical flaw or any other reason? So don’t even do it towards others, otherwise you could attract the antipathies of others, including those of cyberbullies. Follow this advice both when you are physically with others and when you frequent them online, for example with the comments you post on social networks or the messages you send.
  • Avoid potentially dangerous situations  – if you find that a situation could generate an argument or an argument (even online), better move away from the potential danger. In many cases, in fact, it is from a single episode that misunderstandings with potential cyberbullies can arise.
  • Be confident  – bullies target kids who, at least on the surface, seem more “weak” and helpless than others. Therefore, try to become more confident in yourself and in your abilities, not giving others the impression that you have low self-esteem.

Clearly it is not certain that by following these simple tricks you will be able to avoid the attention of cyberbullies, but at least you can reduce the risk of falling victim to them.

Use the Internet and social networks wisely

Using the Internet and social networks consciously is one of the first things I invite you to do to try to  fight cyberbullying . To avoid receiving disparaging messages, insults, blackmail and threats, in fact, you must pay attention to your online behavior. Do you want me to give you some examples?

If you want to avoid receiving unwanted appreciation or blackmail, avoid posting photos that portray you in provocative poses or other dubious attitudes and do not make the mistake of sending material of this kind via chat to one or more users: you would lose control of the content sent , with the risk of these being put online without your knowledge.

Also, don’t accept friendship from anyone , especially people you don’t know or those who could potentially bother you (e.g. kids who go to the same school as you and are anything but recommendable).

Speaking of social networks, if you do not want certain content and information to be seen by other users, take a look at the guides in which I explain how to privatize Facebook and how to put a private profile on Instagram: there you will find specific advice on what to do.

Report and block cyberbullies

If you are the recipient of insults or attitudes attributable to online bullying, you can   report cyberbullies to the giants of the Web: by doing so, you can arrange for their accounts to be suspended (provided that the platforms deem it necessary to do so) and you can block them, preventing them to communicate with you.

For example, if you want to report the Facebook profile of a person who annoys you, access your account from the official app of the social network for Android or iOS, go to the profile of the user you want to report, tap the button  (…) Other place on the right and select the item Give feedback or report this profile .

In the menu that opens, then indicate the type of report you want to make (eg I want to receive help> Intimidation ), tap the Send button to send the report and possibly block the user using the Block function : if the person in question was included in your friends list, it will be removed and will no longer be able to contact you. A similar procedure can also be done from the Web version of Facebook, from PC, as I have already explained to you in this other guide.

If, on the other hand, you want to report / block the Instagram profile of a person who has bothered you, access your account from the official app of the social network for Android or iOS, go to the profile of the user you want to report, tap on the item Report and provide information on why you want to report and block it (eg it is not appropriate ), then taking care to specify the action you intend to take against it and possibly block it, by pressing the Block button . More info here.

Is a cyberbully bothering you on WhatsApp ? In this case, know that you can block him (so as to prevent him from contacting you again via chat) and report his account to the famous instant messaging service. To proceed, start WhatsApp on your Android smartphone or iPhone, open the chat of the user of your interest, by tapping on his name, and press again on his name located at the top. At this point, scroll down the screen that appears, tap on  Block contact and select the option  Report as spam and block to block the user and report his harassing behavior. More info here.

Talk to your parents and teachers

Talking with your parents and teachers is very important to combat the phenomenon of online bullying. Don’t make the mistake of addressing the problem alone, just because you feel embarrassed, ashamed, or afraid to report it to the adults you trust.

You will see that by talking to your parents and / or your teachers about what happened, you will be able to resolve the situation: they will certainly be able to provide you with the practical help you need, preventing the situation from worsening further.

Also not to be underestimated is the psychological relief that comes from knowing that others are aware of the situation and that you are not alone in dealing with it.

Complain to the authorities

If the cyberbullying acts perpetrated to your detriment persist and / or escalate to include threats, intimidating messages and the like, I suggest you file a complaint with the authorities .

Therefore, go to the nearest police station or carabinieri station (possibly together with your parents) and provide the agents who will assist you with all the data and information necessary to proceed.

Useful resources for parents

Are you a parent and are you reading this guide because you want to help your children protect themselves from cyberbullies? If so, what I can advise you to do is keep the lines of communication open with your children and take an interest in what they do , both online and in the “real world”.

For this purpose, it may be useful to monitor the activities your children do when they are online through the use of parental control apps and services  – such as Mobile Fence  (Android) and Qustodio  (Android / iOS), which I told you about. in other guides – which are free to use for short trial periods and then are paid (their subscription plans start at $ 36 / year and € 29.95 / year, respectively).

Among other things, these parental control services allow you to monitor calls and messages received on controlled devices, view the web history and even the movements of your children. Consider using these solutions to protect your children, especially if they are preteens.

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