When it comes to responding to online bullies, I always think about the person who sent the painful message. Does she/he really mean the words that were written? Was she/he bullied herself/himself? I have yet to meet a person who has not experienced being bullied online in this day when the influence of social media is growing by leaps and bounds. In this article I am sharing with you some ways that I have responded to online bullies. I hope you learn from them:
1. Write about Bullying
Take the high road and turn your experience into a lesson that others can learn from. You can start a blog and write about bullying: how it feels to be bullied and why people should not bully others. Most community newspapers allocate a space for contributions so consider the idea of writing to a newspaper too! Respond to online bullying by talking about your personal experience. You'll never know the people you will touch by your sincere, heartfelt post.
2. Write the Bully a Letter
Bullies often hurl negative words because they are insecure individuals. That is the truth of the matter. When faced with an online bully, consider writing the bully a letter. How you want the letter to sound is entirely up to you but I advise writing positive words. I often thanked bullies for their painful messages because “you made me realize that insensitive people really thrive in this beautiful world and I should be more careful in taking note who those people are”.
3. Talk about It in Class
I was a tutor to this chubby kid and he told me that his classmate called him “fat, stupid-looking bear” on Facebook. He is afraid to confront him. So I told him, “Why don’t you tell the boy’s Mom (who happens to be a teacher) about what he said to you?” He wasn't open to the idea at first. But one day, he told me after a lesson on respect in their Christian Life Education class, he shared his experience. It catalyzed a class discussion on bullying.
4. Block the Bully!
If this is a serial bully, who seems to have an unlimited supply of negative words, don’t hesitate in blocking them! Don’t even hesitate in doing it. If the bully turns out to also be a stalker, make it known to authorities. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
5. Separate Yourself from the Online World
Step away from your computer and breathe the real world in. The online world can sometimes be superficial and filled with unreal, grumpy, insensitive individuals. Steer clear from these people by reconnecting to the world where you can actually hear people speak or see them in the flesh. Go on a personal retreat. It helps in centering yourself and preparing you for the next online battle.
6. Make Someone Feel Better
You pay it forward, in short. I have realized that the best therapy to drive away negative feelings is to make someone feel better. Treat a friend, your Mom, or a colleague to lunch or a simple snack. Send out positive vibes. Attract positive, happy energy, you need it!
You got hurt so don’t stop yourself from crying. Recognize the painful feeling and let those tears flow. Cleanse your soul and cry. But never mope, never stay in a corner and wallow in self pity. You are a wonderful person who just happened to have an excruciating online experience. A comment doesn't define the real you.
Have you experienced being bullied online? How did you respond to it?