I recently watched a documentary on Cyberbullying in Kenya and its effects, and I cannot fathom what the world has come to. Greed and animosity have deluged the minds of people all over the world, reiterating the fact that we are living in a man eat man society.
Cyberbullying is rampant right now, and many more are falling victim to this Monster. This is the biggest form of cowardice that has ever existed because these are bullies who would normally not engage in a face to face confrontation or conversation about an issue but would be very bold behind a computer somewhere, using billingsgate with no filter to terrorize other people to the point of suicide.
Falling victim of trolls can be traumatizing, and so today, I am going to give you ten tips on how you can avoid being another statistic of Cyberbullying victims.
(1) Value your privacy
There are socialites, and then there is you and I. There are people who are getting paid to post pictures of themselves wherever they go, pictures of their homes, husbands, wives, children, etc., and then there is you and I who could not benefit from posting too much information. The problem is you expose your private life to a society that could care less whether you ate lunch or not.
So how do you know when it is too much information to share? Well, I always use the 'grandma test.' Before you post something, always ask yourself if your grandmother would approve. If so, please, by all means, post it. Just don't post something that will come to haunt you in the future and make you a target for trolls.
(2) Always log out
I have once been a victim of using a cybercafé desktop to log onto my Facebook. I forgot to log out, and the next person came in and sent most of my Facebook friend's explicit content. I know of some who have forgotten to log out of a public computer, and a stranger came and started asking their friends for money. The safest thing to do is to ensure you do not save your login information on any computer that is not yours, and most importantly, do not forget to log out. Better safe than sorry.
(3) Do not troll others
Ever heard of Karma? No? Well, Karma is simply the Hindu version of doing unto others what you would want them to do unto you. Avoid contributing or initiating online bullying because that cycle will one day come knocking at your door. Be nice online; the world is full of so much evil; a little kindness will go a long way.
(4) Avoid confrontations
I have been on both sides of the coin. I have had a few confrontations online that did not end well, and on the flip side, I have ignored online altercations that definitely ended well. I know there is that reflex action that always pulls us to react in anger to someone who is stepping the line but trust me, this will only feed a bully's energy and invite even more bullies on your page. The thing that especially celebrities have mastered the art of is IGNORING. You should try that sometime.
(5) Do not just accept all friend requests
Gone are the days when having a lot of Facebook friends was the trend. There are so many dummy accounts that people create just so they could fulfill their ulterior motives. We have seen child traffickers, sex offenders, criminals, and even bullies hiding behind innocent-looking fake profile pictures. Before you accept a request, before you start engaging even in private messages, do thorough research because you could be signing yourself up to an online bully or worse.
(6) Avoid plagiarism
If you are lying or are using stolen content and claiming that it is your original work, trust me, it is only a matter of time before someone calls you out and exposes you. This is the worst, and many people's lives and careers have been ruined because of plagiarism. Bullies will thrive in this environment because you are giving them a reason to call you out. Be original, give credit where its due, and do not claim what is not yours.
(7) Avoid forwarding fake posts
Do not be part of the fake news bandwagon. You should be too slow with your fingers. With the retweets, shares, forwards. Do not itch to be the carrier of bad or good news. Once people find out that you always carry fake news, you will be a big target of cyberbullying.
(8) Clear any past mistakes
I know there are those Facebook reminders of our early years that make us cringe. It is because we posted things that our current selves are embarrassed about. I know of celebrities whose tweets for even before they were famous were used against them massively by trolls. There is nothing wrong with spending time on your social pages to delete anything that might make you susceptible to online bullying.
(9) Block! Block! Block!
There is a reason the block button is always there on every social app. So that you can use it. If someone is a nuisance, hit that block button before they turn you into a statistic. Be very generous with your block button when it comes to bullies; that is the one thing you have total control over and so make good use of it.
(10) Get help
So let's say you find yourself as a target of serious cyberbullying, and things seem to be spiraling out of control. Do not let it get to you. Switch it off, deactivate the account and get help. Depression is not the road for you, and suicide is most definitely not an option. Suicide does not end your pain; it only transfers it to your loved ones, so always seek help; there is always someone or organizations ready to offer a listening ear.