Sunday, October 2, 2011
Cyber bullying drama: Putting out the fire
There is a Facebook page being circulated that I will not name. I won't name it because I don't want to give it any further power and frankly, it doesn't deserve any of the attention it's getting today. What it's doing is definitely wrong and who ever is behind it should be held accountable. That's easier said than done.
When people post horrid things on the internet, what they really want is your attention and disdain. Mostly attention. In this case, a person or persons has listed names of people in a negative way. It's a common behavior, especially with no facts listed to give the least bit of credit to the accusations. So, it's really not very elaborate.
Please peruse these websites for information on cyber bullying. What's sad about some of the cases here is that these are adults, not high school children. Adults should know better but even so, they get lots of responses that only fuel their fire. So I'm going to share what I learned from direct experience. These are the truths of these bullies to remember;
1) Nothing will change their minds. No matter what you do to try and "shame" them, it won't work. In the same manner, you cannot reason with them either. No matter the real reason behind what they do, they either take pleasure in it or see themselves as some kind of authority figure, dishing out "punishment".
2)Anything you say will be twisted against you, no matter why you said it.
3)The more anyone responds, the more power it gives them. It doesn't matter if you responded to insult the bully or reason with him/her. They especially enjoy it when one of their targets is responding.
4)The only way to silence them is to ignore them. They will eventually move on to other targets.
Now, everyone who is a target of this web page, has every reason to be upset. They have every reason to want to stand up for themselves and give a bully a nice black eye. But this is the internet and a black eye doesn't always land as intended. So here is what you need to no in gauging the threat of an internet bully.
1) Capacity of true danger: How dangerous is this person to you? Do they have your personal information? You should never post personal information on the internet. If it's there, remove it! Can they physically show up at your home or place of work? Can they contact there and have they tried? You need to look at just how physically dangerous they could be. Yes, how much they can do in cyber stalking at home and business is also important, that means they have your personal information and you should report them.
2) What are they actually doing? You need to take a long look at their behavior and ask yourself what it really means in affect to your life. Can their words on a screen actually do something to you? If all they've done is post a name with some random accusation, that really can't do anything to you. Most reasonable people, if they see this will be able to piece it together for what it really is and move on. If they've posted your personal information, made threats or suggested others should hurt you, then that would be illegal. If they are contacting you directly and you save the info, you may have something against them.
That brings me to a fatal issue you need to know about these conniving internet bullies. They know a secret. That secret is that, so long as they don't contact you directly, they can post what ever they want on the internet about you. The idea is to trick you into contacting them so they can say YOU are the bully. They will use passive aggressive tricks and go to great lengths to employ them, without ever making a single threat. So long as they upset you, they are getting what they want. The evidence is in your response.
That's why self defense against the internet bully.... is silence. And sadly, you can't everyone to do that, so they will get the attention they desire. But what will you do?
Examples of what don't work:
Write a blog about them, name and shame: They'll just do the same thing and claim you are lying about them, you bully.
Attack them right back: They'll use it to say you attacked them, with name calling (if used) and anything else they can make look negative. Your anger is their friend.
Email them to get them to stop: anything you send is evidence of bullying for them.
Now, the best thing you can do if you aren't sure (before you take ANY action) is to call your local police and ask them what to do. Then... you do it.
Don't give this person the time of day. Don't give their name credit. They should be nameless and never known. They want infamy, why give them what they want? After all, there's more than one way to apply self defense. Fighting back doesn't always mean being aggressive.