Social media platforms have become so much more accessible these days, with just a tap on our phones and we’ve just downloaded an app. With the ever-increasing numbers of applications and the easy accessibility it enables; sourcing for information and staying connected with basically everyone has never been easier. Now we can shop online, research on the best eateries, receive driving directions or even follow our favorite celebrities all with just a click.
Ironically, with the privilege of such convenience, we tend to abuse them as well, which brings us to the matter of cyberbullying. The reality of the situation is that we might not even realize that we may be a victim of cyber bullying. Here are 6 common cyber bullying methods that you may have fallen victim to without realizing it:
“Look away and be harassed by my ultimate finger pointing.”
In this context, cyber harassment is the act of abusing and causing harm to an intended party through non-physical via the cyber space. Common channels of such mistreatments are through private messages, e-mail or even public posts over social platforms that constantly criticizes you. Extreme measures would include sharing your photos or videos, of course without your consent over the internet, or simply having to just spread malicious rumors about you. Harassment is usually carried out to humiliate, scare and taunt you. As cynical as it may sound, some bullies actually do this just for the fun of it or simply because of the excitement they get from having power over you.
The worst part about this form of abuse is that the bully actually does the harassment out in the open so that the message is clear to you that you are targeted as a victim. So if you have been bombarded with threads of abusive and hurtful messages or comments online, it seems like you may actually have a cyber bully over you. I know it is not a pleasant experience to receive such treatments so if you can, do share this problem that you are facing with close ones, such as your family, friends or even counsel groups if you have any. All you need is some good support and backing to finally realize that bullies are actually an attention seeking bunch picking on others just to make themselves feel better.
“Never be too gullible and trustworthy, especially on the web filled with scammers.”
Do not divulge too much information online for you never know how these may be used against you through cyber blackmailing. Details and files such as your banking details, account passwords, pictures or even your course work that you have yet to submit could easily be used to blackmail you. Have you ever lost something really important to you only to realize that it was taken from you by a stranger or friend? Yes of course you want it back badly and the tricky part here is that this person is willing to give it back to you but at a cost. Be it money or other reward value as trade you unwillingly adhere to the blackmailer’s demands just get back what was rightfully yours in the first place.
Blackmailing is getting widespread only recently where hackers would steal valuable information from you and demands for cash in exchange of returning it back to you. If you have experienced the above I think you’ve got some serious issues to handle. In the event of any blackmailing, you should never give in to the blackmailer and always seek to approach the authorities. To avoid all these, be careful when giving out personal information, uploading photos/videos or even where you save your course work. Bear in mind that what may seem like junk to you may be treasure to someone else, so be careful.
“Come now … Give me all your secrets.”
Impersonation can be done both offline and online, but in the context of the cyber world, it means passing off as someone else with a fake identity. What the imposter would do is to slowly gain your trust where you would then share confidential information or secrets with this person only to find out later on that you have been fooled. On the extreme case, these imposters would share your secrets with the public or even expose or ridicule you over what you have shared. Have you ever experience meeting someone online and they somehow seem too good to be true where they seem like a perfect match to you? And in just a short span it seems like you may have shared a little too much of your personal secrets with this so called online friend? And the best part is when you try looking this person up they don’t seem to have any records on them and it is almost close to impossible to even get hold of them other than communicating online?
Facebook accounts with no profile picture or friends network with no more than just 5 friends sound familiar to you? Well guess what, you may be in the verge of becoming a victim. Sometimes relying on our instincts may be the safest way to tell if you are in a potential threat or not. Be careful with what you share online as you may never know who else has access to these information you share online and how it could be used against you. Just bear in mind that you can actually report these profiles to the relevant authorities or even to the social media providers. They will take the necessary action to remove these fake accounts while you delete them from accessing your page.
“We can all somewhat relate to this form of being a victim.”
Have you been through denigration? This is when in email circulations, chat groups or in websites, you are made the focus of embarrassment or scorn. What excites and cheers the group only causes. This may involve mocking you or even spreading false rumors about you only to ridicule you while amusing the others. Denigration is also known as “dissing”, which is rampant amongst youngster especially in university or college. You may feel depressed that the group enjoys to pick on you and would even shy away from them. Over the long run, you may even find yourself hiding away from social media platforms to avoid being picked on online. If the above sounds too familiar to you, you could be a victim of denigration and this is most definitely not going to be good to your self-esteem.
“Be strong. This is the last thing you should do, hide in the corner.”
Exclusion is a highly effective bullying method, which sends a strong message across that your peers are no longer in the same page as you. The fear of being left out is an unpleasant one and it is fair to say that no one likes to be booted out in any possible manner. Exclusion takes place when a person or a group dislikes you and intentionally excludes you from a group be it chat rooms, group chats, or other online platforms. You will then get the feeling of being the odd one out and somehow like a lone ranger all by yourself.
Your peers would sometimes discuss on matters shared in the group chat, only for you to realize that you were left out from the circle. If this sounds like you, don’t be disheartened and pay no attention to them. Perhaps you may want to consider finding new cliques, people that would be of the similar wavelength as you are and just truly be yourself. After all, there’s over 30 million people in Malaysia and over 7 billion in the world, so what’s so difficult in replace just a few?
“I disagree with your comments! This means all out war.”
Flaming is basically online fights done through the exchange of emails, comments, messages, or public chats in the cyber space. This can be easily be witnessed in some current Facebook posts especially when it comes to topics covering politics, religion and beliefs. The exchange of nasty comments, vulgarities, and snide remarks are seen in thousands of posts all over the social media. Do you happen to be a victim yourself when you to post on something that contradicts with the opinion of others? You might just be sharing your thoughts, only to find yourself being ravaged by hateful comments from other users. As a result, you may find yourself refraining from commenting on future posts even though deep down you feel like voicing out.
One big advice here is not to be put off by these bullies, if you think that you’re comments are worth sharing, go ahead, do so. Never limit yourself to suit to the needs of others. If you are a victim of any of these cyberbullying methods mentioned, do not feel afraid to reach out to someone of help like your parents, lecturers or friends who can help you to contact the higher authorities to put an end to this bullying. Social media can help us in many ways to access information and staying updated in our lives but it shouldn’t be abused in anyway, especially when it causes hurt to others. Think twice before commenting on a post, if you have nothing nice to say then don’t say anything at all. If what you’re doing is not how you want to be treated, then you should refrain from it. As the saying goes, “Do unto others what you would want others to do unto you.”
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