Stop Cyberbullying

Navigating Harassment Part 2: Cyberbullying and Harassment

Navigating Harassment Part 2: Cyberbullying, what it is and how to stop it!


Open Cyber-Harassment:

Cyberbullying is an all-too-common form of digital torment that manifests in many ways, including the public shaming of individuals, incessant unwanted messages, and the unauthorized distribution of private information. Perpetrators can easily exploit platforms like social media, messaging apps, and discussion boards, inflicting deep emotional wounds that can shatter lives. Those on the receiving end of such attacks often endure tremendous psychological pain that adversely impacts their overall mental health and happiness. To effectively counter cyberbullying, it is crucial to be able to spot the warning signs and be aware of the avenues for assistance. If you or someone near you falls prey to these malicious tactics, it's vital to first record evidence of the harassment. Then, promptly notify the authorities on the platform where it's taking place and lean on the support of reliable friends, relatives, or trained experts. Bolstering your online privacy settings and being cautious with your personal data are additional proactive steps in safeguarding yourself against such virtual abuse. Remember, everyone has the right to a harassment-free online presence, and by taking these affirmative steps, we can help halt cyberbullying in its progression.

Anonymous Cyber-Harassment:

The second type of cyber-harassment is anonymous, and this can be a highly difficult form to fight because the perpetrator is hiding who they are, and though we hate to say it, social media platforms have an unimpressive history of limiting and fighting it. They are so abysmal at regulating harassment that even those with means and unlimited financial resources have difficulty combating it. Let that sink in for a moment. If you are a private citizen with limited means and low techno-wizardry, you might not be able to identify or stop the harassment. Local law enforcement is equally woeful at investigating and fighting it. Reporting mechanisms on social media platforms must be utilized to alert authorities of abusive behavior, but be prepared for slow or no assistance, but that does not mean to stop trying. These platforms must be held accountable for harassment on their platforms. Additionally, implementing strong privacy settings and learning digital etiquette can minimize the opportunities for cyberbullies to target individuals. Document the harassment, get screenshots, copy the URLs where the harassment is taking place, check with others who might know who they are, and keep everything in a safe place for access later. This topic will be reinforced later.


How to fight Cyber-Harassment:

1) Document the harassment

In the blog post "Understanding Cyberbullying and Taking Action to Stop It," the author emphasizes the importance of meticulously documenting every instance of cyberbullying. If you find yourself a target, make sure to create a detailed record of every harassment event. This could involve typing out the details in a document or taking screenshots for proof. Note the date, time, and exact content of each interaction, including as much detail as possible. You're essentially assembling a comprehensive portfolio of the misconduct. To safeguard your data, it's wise to back up your digital devices. Consider using cloud services for extra security and, if you're an iPhone user, don't forget about backing up your iMessages. To further secure your online presence, update all passwords and enable multi-factor authentication on your accounts, providing a sturdy defense against novice hackers. For added security, you might contemplate a factory reset of your devices, though consulting a tech expert before doing so is recommended. Should the cyberbullying intensify to dangerous levels, involving stalking or threats to your safety, take control by involving the authorities. Filing a formal report promptly ensures that there's an official record of the harassment, alerting the police to the problem.

2) Contact Law Enforcement

When faced with cyberbullying, it's crucial to take immediate action and report the harassment to the relevant authorities to create an official record of the incident. It's important to proactively tackle cyberbullying, though one should be prepared that solutions may not be immediate. Initiating contact with law enforcement is an essential step, but it is important to acknowledge that not every officer will possess the advanced digital expertise or specialized training required to handle cyberbullying cases. Filing a formal complaint is imperative to make the authorities aware of the situation. However, for efficient and prompt resolution, you might also consider enlisting the help of private experts who are proficient in digital security and experienced in handling online harassment.

3) Contact a PI or other Experts in Digital Forensics

In the fight against cyberbullying, it is crucial to have the right technical support. Cybersecurity experts have the skills to thoroughly investigate your smartphone and offer significant assistance - something that might be beyond the capabilities of many law enforcement personnel. However, these specialists are in high demand with a limited supply, so their time is precious.

Should you require their services to clone your phone, it's imperative to leave it to the professionals. Taking on this task by yourself could undermine the validity of your case. Should law enforcement become involved, they may question the cloning process, and any missteps could cast doubt on the evidence's legitimacy. The integrity of the process is paramount; all measures taken should be unassailable and adhere to rigorous standards.

Before seeking the help of authorities for a cyberbullying issue, do not erase any data from your phone. If you decide that a data wipe is necessary, be certain to back up the content of your phone, as well as any other relevant electronic devices, before performing a factory reset or any kind of data clearance. The guidance of a cybersecurity professional is vital, ensuring that the evidence retained is legitimate and can support you in your efforts to halt cyberbullying.

4) Don't Communicate with the Harasser

Building on the essential guidance that emphatically states, "Above all, do not engage with your harasser," it is crucial to fortify your digital safety measures to fend off cyberbullying. Engaging with a cyberbully is a grave error; it only leads you further down into an ever-deepening spiral of trouble. Maintaining any kind of dialogue with the perpetrator can be misconstrued as tolerance of their behavior, potentially egging them on. Additionally, this could weaken your position legally, as continued interaction might be seen as acceptance of their conduct. Imagine a scenario where law enforcement gets involved and inquires about your last interaction with the harasser; admitting to months of back-and-forth will not reflect favorably on your situation.

There's a three-step approach to handle this: instruct the bully to stop, clarify that their actions are unwarranted and unwanted, and firmly state that this will be the final time you're addressing the issue. By taking these steps, the bully becomes aware that you find their actions inexcusable. While legislation can vary from state to state in the U.S., making it clear that the harasser's behavior must cease unequivocally indicates that you have warned the individual about their conduct.

Wrapping Up

Above all, prioritize securing your social media accounts by utilizing the strictest privacy settings available. Such measures not only act as a barrier against potential online harassers but also minimize the risk of them obtaining your private data. Enhance your internet safety further by routinely updating your passwords and enabling two-factor authentication whenever it’s an option. Additionally, exercise caution when it comes to the information you're posting on the web. Be aware that sharing personal details like your daily routine or whereabouts can be exploited by cyberbullies to harm you. By consciously limiting the information you make public, you're effectively shrinking your digital footprint and reducing the likelihood of being singled out by bullies on the internet. Adopting these proactive strategies is a fundamental step towards safeguarding yourself and maintaining control over your online identity in the fight against cyberbullying. When all else fails, get help!



Below are some links to places where there is some excellent information on Cyber harassment and bullying:

Still Curious? Check Out Our Other Blogs:

Need Information? Open Source Intelligence vs Private Data

Work Place Harassment: Who is protected

Workplace Harassment: Who is Protected?

Workplace Discrimination: What it is, Who is Protected

Workplace Discrimination: What it is, Who is Protected

Back to blog