Let It Go

This article is a little different from my usual style, but I hope you enjoy!

 

Cyberbullying is becoming more and more prevalent. This article is my story of being cyberbullied and how I worked to make the bullying stop. I hope my story can serve as an aide to help others find solutions and a voice in a time when you might feel you don’t have one.  

 

I started being cyberbullied in university. The worst of it came in my senior year. By this time I was an adult, but the bullying was still hard to deal with. On every photo, the same person would always say something about how I wasn’t good enough. He would either comment right away or wait a few days. He knew when to comment so that the least amount of people would notice. At first, I ignored it. That’s what people tell you to do right? I continually ignored it, but he continually commented negative things. The longer this went on, the harder it became to ignore.  As the comments got worse and worse, other people started commenting on how much they liked my photos. People were trying to counteract his bullying. Even though it helped a little, his comments were still there.

I slowly became lost in my screen because every time I posted I would  analyze what I was posting. I would re-edit the photo, retype my comments, and before I knew it, I had spent 25 minutes ignoring the people around me. Then I was checking every five minutes to see what his attack would be on the photo. I was so focused on this cyberbullying world that I was missing parts of the real world.  People told me to block him, but I was scared to because he knew where I lived. There was a period of time when I didn’t leave my apartment. I eventually realized that someone behind a screen was ruling what I did. I knew I couldn’t go on like that. Eventually, I told people on campus, and they said they would watch out for me. Eventually, campus police knew as well and were willing to walk me around campus if I wanted. I never took them up on that offer, but I was very appreciative. Now I know this situation won’t necessarily make sense to people who haven’t been cyberbullied.  Like, how could you let someone behind a screen make you feel so unsafe? Just block them already! I understand those questions and thoughts, but in the moment you don’t see the answer to those questions. If anyone is being cyberbullied, here are some tips on how to deal with it, or get on the path to deal with it.

 

1. Tell Someone

 

I was so scared to tell people that I was being cyberbullied. I was afraid they would think I was lying even though they could clearly see the comments were there. I was also afraid they would think I was weak. In all honesty, no one thought that, and they just wanted to help. Telling people gets cyberbullying in the open, and even if they can’t make the bullying stop, they can support you.

 

2. Don’t Obsess Over Posting

 

If you obsess over what you want to post you will miss what is happening around you. Being able to focus on the non-cyber world and get a breath of fresh air can really help. This won’t make the problem go away, but it will help you feel more grounded.

 

3. Do Something for Yourself

 

When someone gets so worried about what they are posting, the post becomes something for others rather than themselves. When you post, do it because you want to.  If you are proud of something, don’t let anyone steal that pride away from you. Take a deep breath, hit post, and smile. Accept that what you posted is awesome!

 

4. Block Them

 

Now, this may sound funny coming from me, considering I didn’t block them until I left my last university. This point is important, though, because once I blocked them, the bullying did stop.  They also didn’t try and contact me any other way or try and do anything in person. I was scared blocking them would have major consequences, but it didn’t. If they were to try anything you would have people who have your back.

 

5. Move On

This point is so important. Once they are blocked, they are gone from your cyber-world.  Although this may feel weird and stressful at first, eventually you have to move on. The negativity being silenced becomes normal, and you can feel confident being you. If someone stole your confidence, try and get it back. Understand that that person isn’t in your life anymore and your true friends will be there to accept you for you.

 

Thank you for reading my article this week. If you are being cyberbullied, please tell someone.  Let them know what is going on, and they will be able to help.

Thanks,

Steph

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