Contrary to popular belief, adults can be cyber bullied as well as children. Although the emotional affects will differ for each individual, on the whole they are devastating. They can range from a victim also becoming a cyber bully or to suicide. Although the technology of cyber bullying is different, the bullying tactics are still the same. People still do not know how to deal with bullies in real life, let alone those on the Internet.
This writer is currently being cyber bullied. I am adult and own my own business. And yet I am scared that someone is actively trying to kill me, even though the logical side of my mind states that murder would be out of the question since it would stop my bullies’ entertainment. My main emotions during this time are of anger, humiliation and defeat.
Children and adults will often first react with anger at their cyber bullies. This anger can result in swearing, making threats worse than those of the original bully and threatening to get a higher authority involved (such as the police, God or the webmaster.) This can sometimes (rarely) scare off bullies in real life and on line.
But in the long run this tactic often backfires. In cyberspace, anything you type can be placed in storage and used against you. The bully may, for example, take one of your messages out of context and send it to all of his or her friends, stating that you are the instigator and the bully is, in fact, completely innocent.
Even after realizing the mistake of venting anger, it is still hard not to be angry. Someone who is cyber bullied is alone, especially an adult. There is often nothing anyone can do about the bullying except to try and ignore it. That is extraordinarily difficult. If the victim also has a chronic illness like major depression, than being bullied can certainly trigger symptoms of panic, paranoia and suicide in the victim.
No matter how old you are or how much money you make, being bullied will make you feel humiliated. Cyber bullying is a new form of humiliation sure to reach new levels of torture in generations to come. Humiliation can lead to more anger, isolation from family and to self-medicating with drugs and alcohol.
The humiliation can stem from many sources. The victim could wonder if he or she did something to deserve the bullying, such as commit a sin against God. The victim could be ashamed of reacting back with equal hostility. The victim could also receive so many messages a day that the messages seep into the subconscious, kind of like a sinister advertising jingle.
According to the UK National Workplace Bullying Advice Line, the best thing a victim of cyber bullying can do is NOTHING. This means do not react. However, it also recommends keeping a record of all abusive messages sent if you do decide to prosecute.
Unfortunately, many victims find this out far too late. They have already deleted many incriminating messages and find they just want to be left alone. Although people cyber bullied by classmates or workmates can get help from their teachers or bosses, adults cyber bullied at social networking sites, internet forums or chat rooms have no one to turn to. They may discover that on a website that draws thousands of hits a day, not one person will send an encouraging email to help the victim.
The victim has no choice but to leave as many internet sites as he or she can. I, for one, am scared to death to go online, but I have no choice since it is necessary for my employment. I am defeated.