It is natural to blame yourself if you are a victim of cyberbullying. The bully makes sure that this is the way you feel. However, it’s important to realise that it is not your fault. Here we outline some of the reasons why a cyberbully might choose you as their target. Cyberbullies take advantage of poor personal social media management such as:
- Open privacy settings, which allow all members of the public to view your social media posts.
- Over-sharing, which gives the cyberbully an insight into your personal life, your weekly routines, where you live, work and who you socialise with.
- Emotional sharing, which tells the cyberbully how you feel. For example if you feel lonely, you might unbeknown to yourself, invite attention from a cyberstalker who will befriend you and take advantage of your vulnerable state.
- Explicit sharing of controversial views, which might spur another person to attack you based on your opinion. While the Internet is a place of free speech, you need to consider how much of your views you want to share. The Internet is a haven for trolls who get satisfaction out of attacking other people based on how they look but often based on their personal opinions.
Take a step back from your smartphone, tablet or laptop right now. Take an objective view of your last 10 social media posts (on each of your social networking sites) and ask yourself: ‘What are my social media habits?’
Are you creating a persona that is ‘attractive’ to a cyberbully, are you in control of your online privacy and do you feel confident in the knowledge that what you share, you can stand by and you can be proud of in five or 10 years time? The social web is an exciting place to navigate, but inevitably it has darks sides, which you need to by-pass. Be sure you educate and empower yourself on social media best practice but most of all take responsibility for your own social media actions.