How to Protect Yourself From Cyberbullying
The world we’re living in has somehow come to a state where everyone has an insight into other people’s lives, privacy is almost non-existent, and the presence of social media almost allows people to express whatever is on their minds…all the time.
This leaves plenty of room for negativity, hurtful remarks, bad reviews, and, quite simply, acts of cyberbullying that can just as equally cause harm to your mental health as if they were in person. The victims of this, unfortunately, very common online attack can have serious and severe consequences for years to come, from anxiety and low self-esteem to fear and depression.
It’s time to put an end to this. Even though no one can prevent people from doing bad and hurtful things, we can take matters into our own hands and protect ourselves from cyberbullying in the best way we can. These practices can help you overcome the fear, anxiety, and depression that cyberbullying can cause and learn how to protect yourself from future attacks, build your self-esteem, and help you feel more resilient and confident in yourself do that you can confidently move on.
It’s Not Your Fault
First and foremost, it’s extremely important to know that it’s not your fault that people are unkind and mean. There is absolutely nothing you did wrong and there is also absolutely nothing you can do about their actions. If someone decides to engage, they will do so whether you give them an incentive or not. These people have their own personal issues they are dealing with, and even though it doesn’t justify them, if you want to continue participating in the online world, you’re just going to have to accept them as is. The goal is to help you learn how not to let it phase you, trigger you, scare you, or lower your self-esteem.
Create and Set Strict Boundaries
When someone becomes a victim of a cyberbullying attack, it often leads them towards closing up and deciding to never, ever share any part of their lives online. And although that might be the best solution for some people, others find it hard to stay offline. They do it because they’re scared of new negative comments, harassment, and constant spamming on their content which will only be detrimental to their mental health.
This constant struggle of whether to post or not to post, to share or not to share, to reveal some aspect of their lives or decide against it can be a real run in a hamster wheel, only causing more trauma long-term.
If you still want to participate in the online world or it’s absolutely necessary for your work or the industry you’re a part of, the best way to protect yourself is to create strict boundaries and limits you should adhere to. Decide what you’ll share and when, filter out your content and start small. Don’t jump back into the game the same way you did before, and only offer limited content that you can easily control.
Another important aspect of setting boundaries is to avoid posting your location. If you absolutely have to divulge something about your whereabouts, make them as general as you possibly can so that the cyberbully can’t physically track you down. As much as you’d love to post about a hotel or a restaurant you like going to, prevent yourself from sharing about it until after you’re no longer at that location. You are doing this for your own safety.
Never, ever allow yourself to respond to negative comments or messages. These kinds of people feed on your replies and reactions. If you give them nothing, there is a big chance they will simply give up and go searching for another victim. Even though something triggers you and makes you want to throw your computer into the wall, don’t engage. Just don’t.
Check Your Privacy Settings
Before you continue posting online, take a good and deep dive into your privacy settings. From only allowing certain people to see your content to blocking a whole world region from even accessing your website. Take advantage of all settings online platforms allow you and make sure you’re frequently changing passwords while using added security filters like double authentication and extra pin numbers and codes.
Screenshot, Report, and Block
Luckily, most social media and online content nowadays allow you to report abusive profiles and their actions. When someone engages in cyberbullying, the best thing you can do is screenshot their messages and comments, block them from even having access to your content and then report them to the official channels. In the most severe cases, if someone threatens your life or you’re scared for your safety, report them to the authorities as well.
This way, you have everything in black and white, even if the person decides to go ahead and delete everything they’ve ever posted on your site.
Talk to a Professional
You never know how much something can affect a person. Just as much as a simple smile to a stranger in the middle of the street can make their day, only one negative comment about a person’s life or appearance can completely crush them. And if they’re already in a tough situation in their lives and going through a lot, one comment like this can be the tipping point, making their anxiety and depression almost impossible to deal with.
If you’re finding it really hard to deal with this, talk to a professional and discover the best ways to cope. The majority of these cyberbullying actions are not personal, as much as it seems that way to you. A professional therapist can help you understand that while allowing you to lift this weight off of your shoulders. They can also help you implement some self-care tactics which will rebuild your self-esteem and allow you to share what you want to share without getting triggered by someone’s mean comment.
Do The Self-Work
None of these tactics will help you if you’re not working on your self-esteem. Whether you’re talking to someone, reading self-improvement books and content, or following certain helpful courses, it doesn’t matter as long as it helps. Build your self-esteem and confidence on your own, without the need for validation from other people. What they choose to say about you and your appearance needs to become completely irrelevant to you – positive or negative. Don’t allow yourself to be defined by what some stranger says about you online – you are your own person, and you need to2 put yourself first.
Cyberbullying is one of the most common attacks people deal with nowadays, with everyone’s lives displayed on social media. It’s important to learn how not to let it affect you and protect yourself from any further harm by setting clear boundaries and deciding to keep the most private aspects of your life – private.