What is cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying might be the most pernicious type of online attack there is, given how it takes advantage of its victims’ personal insecurities and vulnerabilities in order to cause them psychological humiliation and harm, with the perpetrators often hiding behind online personas. Cyberbullying usually involves sending the victim threatening messages or posting humiliating photos or videos of the victim on social media sites, or even creating a fake website about the victim. As has often been documented in the news, the effects of cyberbullying can be devastating and even fatal.

Cyberbullying
Where does cyberbullying come from?

Cyberbullying comes from the same dark and demented place as real-world bullying, people who want to exert some form of power and elevate their own social status by belittling and humiliating others, especially if they think the other person is weaker, or somehow threatening. Cyberbullies may post anonymously, hide behind online identities or even use their real identities in the knowledge that they won’t be physically confronted by their victim. Many cyberbullies will say or post things online that they would never have the courage to say in real life.

How do you recognize cyberbullying?

Any hurtful, demeaning, or threatening message sent over an electronic medium is cyberbullying. It also includes humiliating photos or videos posted on public sites such as Facebook or YouTube without consent. Fake profiles or websites that aim to expose or invade privacy can also be considered cyberbullying. While the tools and tricks involved in cyberbullying can seem obvious, the most difficult part in combatting cyberbullying can be getting ashamed and/or frightened victims to admit they’re being targeted.

How can you stop cyberbullying?

Unfortunately, as long as there are mean-spirited people, it seems unlikely we’ll ever be able to put a complete stop to cyberbullying. It can also be difficult to stop the vitriol cyberbullies create—the posts, websites, or videos that attack the target—as it can require going through a lengthy, difficult process to get admins to delete that content. And by that point, oftentimes, copies have been made and distributed, which means it’s nearly impossible to delete this content for good.

How can we help prevent cyberbullying?
  • Block the accounts cyberbullies use to spread their hate
  • Report cyberbullies to the service providers, like Facebook or Twitter
  • Protect all your passwords and password protect your phone
Protect yourself against cyberbullying

Anyone who has a smartphone, tablet, or computer and uses Twitter, WhatsApp, Snapchat, Facebook, YouTube or any other social media service, can become a target of cyberbullying. Of course, not using any social media would be a great way to avoid cyberbullying, but that’s an extreme measure. It’s better to simply keep an open dialogue with the people in your life and encourage them to ask for help if they find themselves on the receiving end of internet hate. And remember, the attention span of internet bullies is typically short - it’ll pass with time. Also, keep your passwords safe with Avast Passwords.

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