We are not going to stop cyber bullying because just like their counterpart, the computer virus, both are here to stay. But what we can do, is to learn how to change our thoughts to view cyber bulling just like any other computer virus and to not feel intimidated by an attack. So, what is cyber bulling and does it fall within the definition of cyber crime.
A bully is an individual who deliberately intimidates or is cruel to weaker people. These bullies come in all ages, shapes and sizes, you know who they are because the attacks are personal.
A cyber bully intimidates other people using technology and in the majority of cases, remains anonymous. You have no idea who they are or what they look like, even though you might think that you do.
The favourite electronic media used for cyber bulling is instant messaging (IM) delivered through all popular social networking sites.
In the USA, 67% of reported cyber bullying attacks are made via instant messaging.
Other media used by cyber bullies are: chat rooms (25%), e-mail (25%), web sites (23%) and SMS or text messages (16%).
The term cyber bulling applies only to assaults on children. If the approaches are perpetrated by adults on adults it is called cyberstalking or cyberharassment.
Even though the majority of cyber assaults are not personal, when we receive such a message, the resultant emotions are sadness, anxiety and eventually fear. The reason for our reaction is due to the way our brains are engineered. When we are faced with any perceived attack, our amygdala goes into high alert and we get into a fight or flight mode.
And, in spite of the fact that, a cyber attack is a probabilistic and not a local fear, the amygdala cannot tell the difference and remains in a state of high alert until the perceived threat disappears.
The problem as I explained on my page on What Causes Fear, is that probabilistic threats never go away.
But, they are only in our head!
Cyber bullying is a very serious menace and it falls within the definition of cyber crime.
In “Cyber crime and the Victimization of Women: Laws, Rights, and Regulations” by D. Halder, and K. Jaishankar, cyber crime is defined as: “Offences that are committed against individuals or groups of individuals with a criminal motive to intentionally harm the reputation of the victim or cause physical or mental harm to the victim directly or indirectly, using modern telecommunication networks such as Internet (Chat rooms, emails, notice boards and groups) and mobile phones (SMS/MMS)".
There have been several reported cases where young people have taken their own lives as a direct result of cyber intimidation. The international legal system is attempting to hold perpetrators accountable for their actions through the International Criminal Court.
The International Criminal Court (ICC) is a permanent judicature that hears and rules on cases of genocide, crimes against humanity and war crimes. However the legal power for the “Crime of Aggression” cases will not be activated until 2017 at the earliest.
But the problem still lies in finding the perpetrators, to be able to lay a criminal charge. These individuals are very difficult to trace.
So, we need to protect ourselves from these attacks and we do this mentally.
The feelings resulting from assaults by cyber bullies are not physical. They originate in your head.
The obvious response to an attack would be to remove your profile from all internet social networks, change your e-mail address and your mobile number but why should you?
You have every right to put up a profile and to communicate with others on line or via whatever medium you choose. This does not give anyone the right to abuse you.
So you need to deal with these threats logically and put them into perspective because they are not personal. You have more than likely been picked up at random and these people don't know you.
I am going to give you some tools and show you how to change your thoughts in order to eliminate the intimidation following an assault.
This is what you can do.
If you are a victim of this type of bullying, the first thing that you need to do is to switch off the electronic message delivery gadget that the abuse arrived on.
Your instinctive reaction is to go into defensive mode and to reply to the assault.
Take a few deep breaths to calm yourself down.
Do not engage with this individual any further nor respond to the provocation or insult.
Say to yourself, and believe it, because it is true:
Then go tell your parents.
Next, put this attack into perspective. There are four possibilities.
The general course of action on how to deal with all cyber bullying is:
Take a moment to watch this video:
Hopefully this sort of attack will never happen to you and you are just reading this page out of interest. However, if it does happen, the information on this page is going to help you deal with cyber attacks in a more informed manner.
Remember that you have full control about what you put into your head. By learning how to change your thoughts, you will regain control over cyber bullying. In the next subsection I have put together a selection of my favourite quotes relating to the emotion of fear.