Cyber Bullying

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.

What is Cyber Bullying?

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.

Just like computer viruses cyber bullying is here to stay. Learn how to change your thoughts and treat cyber attacks like a virus -

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!

Definition of Cyber Crime

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.

Just like computer viruses cyber bullying is here to stay. Learn how to change your thoughts and treat cyber attacks like a virus -

How to Change Your Thoughts

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.

But don’t!

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:

  1. This is not my fault,
  2. I have done nothing wrong,
  3. I am the victim of a vicious unprovoked attack,
  4. It is not personal and it is just another form of computer virus.

Then go tell your parents.

Next, put this attack into perspective. There are four possibilities.

  1. You know this individual personally. This means that you know this person in his or her physical form and not only by the information in his or her on-line profile.

    a) This is the only situation where the attack is personal. Tell your parents, friends and teachers.

    b) Lay a charge of assault with your local police station.

    c) Follow the "General Course of Action" suggested below.

  2. You only know this individual from what you have read in his or her profile.

    a) Understand that it could be a fictional profile, even if it seems to be plausible and real. They could have uploaded false photographs and lied about all their personal information.

    b) The attack is not personal, ignore it!

    c) Follow the “General Course of Action” suggested below.

  3. You only know this individual by his or her pseudonym.

    a) The attack is not personal, ignore it!

    b) Follow the “General Course of Action” suggested below.

  4. You have never had any contact with this individual before today.

    a) The attack is not personal, ignore it!

    b) Follow the “General Course of Action” suggested below.

General Course of Action

The general course of action on how to deal with all cyber bullying is:

  1. Report the individual to the social network site. This page offers advice as well as links to sites and organizations to whom you can report cyber bullying.
  2. Block the individual from all your social networks.
  3. Create a filter to block all of his or her e-mails.
  4. Place a filter on your phone to block this individual’s SMS, text messages and calls. In most countries, you need to present a valid identification document and proof of residence before the smartcard on your phone is activated on the network. This means that an individual can be identified from his or her mobile number.
  5. Have a look at what information you are currently sharing on your social network profile. You may want to remove or modify some of it.
  6. Understand that whatever information you share on your profile can be accessed by everyone. Think carefully before you hit that “post” button and the information that you share on line.
  7. Always log off from your social network account when you are not using it.
  8. Keep your password safe and have different passwords for each of your accounts and devices.

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.

Go from Cyber Bullying to Quotes About Fear

Go from Cyber Bullying to How to Overcome Fear