Yes, even YOU may be a cyberbully. Before you shrug that notion off and say you have nothing in your blood that reeks of bullying, read on and find out about the many signs that you are cyberbullying. (NOTE: Bloggers are quite prone – and may be equally guilty of – cyberbullying. Read on to learn why.)
Cyberbullies occur in many forms. According to strict legal definitions, it may occur not only via the Internet; even the use of cellphones to harass a person is considered cyberbullying. And cyberbullying is not usually identified by many people because hostile interactions online are usually presumed as “common happenstance” by most netizens. Call it an example of desensitization – but it is still a sign of ignorance, if you ask me.
Signs That You’re Cyberbullying Others
As I said earlier, even you may be cyberbullying others – and the signs may be there, but you may be blind to them. Yes, you may be the nicest person you know and you may be well loved by your friends, but who isn’t? Bloggers, for instance, are becoming the butt of cyberbullying and sadly, sometimes also bully fellow bloggers.
Below are some of the common examples of cyberbullying that I myself have witnessed in the past few years. See if you’ve been a victim of any of these types of cyberbullying (or if you’ve been the instigator yourself). Let this be a lesson of self-awareness and, more importantly, of social network sensitivity.
- A cyberbully can tag you in an insulting post on Facebook for the sole purpose of besmirching your reputation. Maybe there is this one person who did you wrong. Maybe he ran away with your money, or maybe he ran away with your girlfriend. In any case, this person has committed a crime in your eyes. You tag and mention him on Facebook, telling everyone he is a jackass. You tell the whole story for everyone to find out how evil he is. Even if you were the one who has been wronged, if you do this, it’s a sign that you are cyberbullying. (A piece of advice: Settle all arguments in person, like a real man would.)
- Cyberbullies usually leave disparaging or insulting remarks disguised as “jokes”, especially on Facebook. Remember that person you hate who happens to be your “friend” on Facebook? He posts so many annoying pictures and you just want to squeeze his neck. And on one special day when you just aren’t in the mood to tolerate him, you just might leave a message that is sure to hurt him even if it’s phrased as a joke, something like, “You look like you’re gay. LOL, kidding.” Or have you done this already? If you answer yes, then yes, it’s one of the many signs that you are cyberbullying.
- A cyberbully can keep giving you compliments – of the lewd kind, that is. There is this girl who loves posting cutesy pictures. You like her but you don’t know how to get her attention because she has a thousand other guys already racing against each other to get her. One day, she posts an especially alluring bikini picture and you can’t help yourself, so you comment: “You are just delicious, I want to
TOOTyour TOOT.” Even if you’re acting out of sheer admiration, you are harassing this girl – and yes, it’s a sign that you are cyberbullying the pretty girl.
- A cyberbully doesn’t have to interact with you to bully you. Any cyberbully can just spread rumors about you. Have you ever posted anything on Facebook meant to ruin the reputation of someone you know? Have you ever spread false rumors (or even “true” ones) online meant to target that one person you hate with all your guts? Have you asked others to help you in your mission to take down this person you are obviously obsessing about? Even if your object of obsession is unaware of your smear campaign, if you answer yes to any of these questions, then it’s officially a sign that you’re cyberbullying.
- A cyberbully can blog about you. Bloggers have been quite powerful online. They use their blogs to voice their opinions and promote their views. But sometimes, they can use their blogs to hurt other people. If you have blogged about someone and used hurtful words meant to scare or hurt them, then you may be a cyberbully. If you need to use your blog as a means to disseminate information or start change, stay away from hateful language. State your facts, express your emotions diplomatically, and make helpful suggestions. Being a cyberbully blogger will hurt your reputation more than anyone else’s.
There are many signs that you may be cyberbullying, but I hope you haven’t been a cyberbully yet just yet. Remember this: your anonymity does not excuse your animosity. If you want to give someone a piece of your mind, then do it in person, instead of on a social network. Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t say in person.
And if you are a blogger, always remember, there is such a thing as online karma. Stay good, act fair, and share this article to all your friends who show signs that they are cyberbullying! And yes, I will appreciate every click on the “like” button – I want to know if you learned something new from this blog post. Thank you and visit my blog again soon!