How to stop Cyberbullies and Scammers

Cyberbullying is a growing problem and affects more than just children and teenagers; adults attack other adults, businesses, opinions, and more. They also troll websites trying to get adults to fall for their scams. Although many people do their best to ignore, not engage, these attacks, they are extremely hard to avoid. Even after making your best attempts to ignore, after a while, the bullying emotionally wears on you, and it can even take a financial toll on your business.

It would be great if society were headed in a direction in which these poor behaviors were lessening, but unfortunately, it is getting worse. So what can you do to stop the bullying? Here are five things to help you stop cyberbullies and scammers.

Approve All Comments

Like children, adults can also fall victim to cyberbullying via social media. However, unlike children, most adults quickly resolve those issues by blocking or deleting the offending person. But where you do find a lot of adults falling victim to cyberbullying is on their personal websites or blogs or the websites to which they contribute. For this type of bullying, the best thing you can do is not allow any comments to post automatically. Instead, change your default comment settings to “allow only approved comments” or your website’s equivalent so that you can read and approve all comments before the public can see them. This allows you to delete the bullying before it gains attention and grows into a problem.

Don’t Argue

If you have no control over the comments, the next best thing you can do is avoid engaging or arguing with the bully. Most of the time these people are seeking attention and feed on the negative. If you do not encourage trolls by arguing or standing up for yourself, they typically go away. Conversely, if you choose to argue or defend yourself, you are adding to the problem by mistakenly encouraging them to continue bullying. It is natural to want to defend yourself, but do your best just to ignore.

Block Bullies

Social media sites are not the only sites that allow you to block viewers, commenters, users, and even IP addresses; if you are the site administrator, look into your options for blocking your bully. You might have to do a little research to find out what options you have, but depending on your website host, you should have several. It could be as easy as installing a widget or as complicated as adding some code. But if it is important to you to make it stop, you will find a way.

Report Bullying to Site Administrators

If you are not the site administrator, you’re unfortunately dependent on someone else helping you solve the problem. The administrator might have a different view on what is happening and feel that it is not bad enough to deal with. But most site administrators are aware of the growing cyberbully problem and are open to the idea of helping others prevent bullying. It just may take your proving that this is a pattern and that you have done everything you can to avoid it before they take action.

Protect Private Information

You might think that cyberbullies are random, and many are — but in some cases, they seek a particular person out. Maybe they know that person in real life or are a friend of a friend. In these cases, the best way you can prevent them from bullying you is by protecting your private information. Do not give out your phone number or address online. Avoid making phone calls to unknown people without blocking your caller ID first. Consider using an alias for online work. There are many things you can do to protect your private information — just be aware of the risk, and you will remember to protect yourself.

Yes, cyberbullying is a growing problem, but that doesn’t mean you have to accept it. You can do your part in preventing it and not contributing to the problem. Sure, you might not solve the problem in one day, but these five steps will help you get started.

Image Credits: Flickr by Wesley Fryer

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