I define a bully as "A weak individual with a lack of compassion or empathy that would otherwise allow them to recognize that picking on someone who's too afraid to fight back doesn't make you 'cool'. It makes you pathetic."
Today's topic, is Cyber Bullies: Who They Are, and How To Deal With Them. This topic stems from an incident on twitter a few nights ago. I was actually getting ready to log out for the night, and caught the tail-end of one of the nastiest cases of cyber-bullying I've ever seen.
It was really brutal. So bad it made me cringe. What made it worse is that the victim of this cyber assault stated multiple times that she was sorry she had dared speak out against the issue. Apparently having different political beliefs is just cause to publicly humiliate someone to the point that they are in tears.
I'm almost certain that is not what Sesame Street teaches us.
Anyhow, moving right along. The following conversation is MAJORLY GRAPHIC, tasteless and extremely offensive towards ALL women. Proceed with caution.
The first screenshot is what originally caught my attention. The comments are in no particular order, but as you can see they're all pretty horrible. It's also the reason I felt it was necessary to intervene. The third tweet from the top came from the woman who was being attacked. As you can see, her attackers would re-tweet her posts to their friends so that more of them could join in and bash her together. Which is truly the most pathetic part of that entire situation. In fact, it sounds like a bad joke, "How many idiots does it take to insult one person on twitter?" Apparently a lot.
Oh, and in case you're wonder what she could have said that would have sparked such hateful responses, here it is.
Oh my goodness, how dare she... Talk about blowing things out of proportion. I could understand if she'd said something about their mama's. Nobody should talk about someone's mama's. That's just plain rude.
Anyhow, here's where I came in.
Anyhow, here's where I came in.
|Notice how none of my replies were retweeted, and none of his "buddies" jumped in to defend him.|
I did find it incredibly interesting that once he realized that there were no superficial aspects about me that he could insult (i.e. my weight, or appearance) he had to find a new way to attack.
There's not much that someone can say to me that will make me upset. These insults were clearly a juvenile attempt for him to save face, and really only ended up making himself look incredibly stupid in the process. I didn't need to argue my intelligence, obviously I've got it in spades. I didn't need to liter my replies with curse words, I'm too much of a lady for that. Nope, all I had to do was sit back and watch him verbally hang himself, one stupid reply at a time.
So when it comes to cyberbullying, what can you do?
Keep in mind that the only reason I chose to intervene in this particular situation is because I could clearly see that the person being attacked was in extreme distress. I don't necessarily believe that jumping into the middle of an internet war is the best way to fix cyberbullying. Use your own judgement. Most of the time ignoring the attacker will work. After all, what's more annoying than a person who refuses to engage in your repeated attacks?
You can also block them. I highly recommend this approach. There's no need to get your hands dirty. With one simple click, you can block them out for good. Here's a screenshot of how to do that on twitter.
Thirdly, you can report them. As is the case with most bullies, you are usually not their first victim. Don't give them a chance to target someone else. The more people who report them, the more likely it is that they will be punished. Saying or doing nothing can sometimes encourage their behavior.
And last but not least (for those of you with thick skin) if you have a few minutes and just want to have a good laugh at their expense, when they start insulting you, just kill em with kindness. You'll notice I did that quite a few times. Bullies rarely ever continue to attack if you show that you could care less about their opinions or insults. They want the power and the upper hand. Don't give it to them.
By the way, in case you were interested, while this whole situation was going on, I received 45 direct messages from people who were supporting, encouraging, and silently laughing along with me while this guy proved to the entire twitter-verse that he was a complete jerk.
Thank you for proving that together, we can take a stand against cyberbullying!!
Click here to learn more about cyberbullying, and what you can do to stop it. Click here to read my previous post about Baby Bullies.