There’s a big difference between receiving a negative comment and cyberbullying.
Negative comments (which I see as opportunities – check out the post) can be from people who just disagree with your stance or have some misinformation. But the big thing here is that it can open a conversation between yourself and the individual. You might not get them to see your side but at least you have treated each other respectfully and hopefully will continue to chat down the road.
But negative comments can quickly turn into cyberbullying and you should know the difference and how to deal with it.
I’m also very passionate about cyberbullying because I believe it is a scourge of the web.
It needs to be eradicated. No one should feel threaten via social media and I’m including email and blogging. Cyberbullying isn’t just for kids and, in fact, I see more abuse from adults than kids.
So what is cyberbullying?
Content that is not appropriate – and most likely violates the Terms of Service Agreement that every digital communication platform has. For example: pornography, hate speech, graphic violence, bullying, or spam all violate Facebook Terms of Service.
Any threat of violence.
Taking a photo/video of someone in a place where he or she would expect privacy.
Stalking or hate crimes.
Your state may have more than this and you should consult your individual state to find out if what happened to you can be considered a cyber crime.
While you may think that what someone wrote is not serious, you just never know. I would take every threat personally whether it be in a comment section or through email as if the person was standing right in front of me.
What should you do if you think you are a victim of cyberbullying?
There’s a great list of things to do on stopbullying.gov. I’m going to paraphrase their list.
- Don’t respond to or forward the messages.
- Keep the evidence and record time, date, and description of what happened. Save the evidence and take screenshots. You will probably need this to report the cyberbullying to your web/cell phone service provider.
- If it’s on a social network, report the person and block them.
If you need information from the different networks on how to deal with cyberbullying, here’s their policies.
Personally, I’m very happy that YouTube has now tied Google+ to YouTube comments. It makes it much harder to just post inane commentary and abusive language on the website.
If the cyberbully is violating laws like writing out a threat of violence, posting pornography, or inciting hate speech, then by all means contact your local law enforcement. Please don’t take these things lightly. Online threats are the same as in person threats.
There are ways to track people down but be cautious about this.
Do you really want to know this person?
What are you going to do if you know? I don’t recommend harassing them.
Here’s what you do it you have their email address or username – use pipl. This search engine should be able to track them down.
You can also drop their email into facebook search.
You can use their IP address to find out who their ISP is.
Here’s an example from Gmail – I open the email.
You’ll find the “Show original” email which will put the email header back in the document. Then you can see header information and find the ISP.
Find the ISP.
Once you have the ISP, you can find out who the provider is using Whois.
With in the Whois, you can find out who to contact and get the abuser to stop or lose their email..
Cyberbullying is more than just a kids’ problem. The people that think they can send these threatening emails or placing inappropriate comments need to understand that these are crimes and they will be prosecuted.
We are here to help one another and converse not threaten one another.
And if it is happening to your children, you should definitely take action. They don’t have as thick a skin as adults and I would hate to see them do something to themselves or others.
Here’s a great example of an adult fighting back against another adult’s cyberbullying. It was so hurtful but she rose above it and showed the world what a coward this person truly was.