Cyberbullying: Recognizing Covert Attacks
You know what cyberbullying is, but that doesn’t mean you always recognize it. Some forms of online bullying are so subtle, even the savviest parents miss them. And yet they can still be as cruel and damaging as more public forms of bullying. An awareness of these subtle bullying techniques will help you guide your teen through complicated social media relationships. Here are some classic examples of these more subtle forms of social media bullying.
The Exclusive Photo
This tactic uses photos that show a group of friends having fun as a tool to make others feel isolated or unpopular. Most of the time, this is a purposeful act and posted with intention. The person who’s left out is very aware that their friends are sending them a message that ‘Hey, we were all invited to this party, or we all went out after the soccer game, and you specifically were not invited.’” Some teenagers take it a step further by tagging the person being left out.
Clicking the “like” button on social media is intended to send a positive message. But when a frenemy follows your teen online and aggressively “likes” everything your teen posts, it becomes a form of mockery. It’s done to intimidate. It puts the original poster on notice that everything you’re doing is being observed by someone who doesn’t like you or doesn’t have your best intentions at heart.
Tons of comments and “likes” are a sign of support and affirmation, so if your teen’s online post is greeted with silence, she may feel humiliated. Cyberbullies sometimes coordinate efforts behind-the-scenes to purposely limit responses. Teens gauge their self-worth on the number of likes and followers they get, when a post gets zero response, it is devastating to a kid.
This form of cyberbullying occurs in the online gaming world, when one player follows another and harasses him by intentionally sabotaging his game.
Griefing borders on stalking, A griefer can come in and dismantle everything you’ve done so you can’t go anywhere in the game.
A cyberbully uses Twitter (sub-tweeting) and Facebook (sub-booking) to post negative comments about an individual without naming her, but does so in a way that makes clear who is being discussed.
It’s intimidating and it’s also humiliating because everybody sees it.
Hands down, this is a “screw you” without saying a word. It is overly used for the intention of relating to someone they are angry, “done”, or playing the cat and mouse games in immature relationships.
Outing is a deliberate act to embarrass or publicly humiliate an individual by posting their private, sensitive, or embarrassing information online. The information revealed can be minor or serious, but can have a severe and lasting impact on the victim.
Dissing is when people share or post cruel information about an individual online to ruin their reputation or friendships with others. This includes posting personal photos, videos, and screenshots. The person sharing this information may be a friend or acquaintance of the victim. Some cyberbullies go to great lengths to hurt their victims, even creating webpages designed to spread hurtful information and lies about their victims.
Trolling is a form of cyberbullying done by insulting an individual online to provoke them enough to get a response. Usually, these attacks are personal and instigate anger in the victim, making them lash out and behave badly.
Sockpuppets or catfishing
A “sockpuppet” is a form of deception that uses a fake social media account. The creator of the fake account gains their victim’s trust by pretending to be someone they’re not. When their victim divulges private information, the puppeteer shares that personal information with others who may bully the victim. Catfishing similarly involves setting up a fake online profile, but with the purpose of luring its victim into a deceptive online romance.
Some cyberbullies threaten to hurt their victims or convince them to hurt themselves. It can be the worst type of cyberbullying, because it can lead its victims take their lives by suicide.
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