As various forms of online communication such as websites, chat desks, and social media continue to expand exponentially across the globe and in every facet of daily life, cyberbullying has also grown and continues to affect people and businesses from all walks of life.
Approaching Cyberbullying as a company
Here at Melita, we’ve implemented a zero-tolerance policy in this regard. There is nothing positive that can come from bullying for bullying’s sake. The first question that one needs to answer in order to be able to tackle this problem is precisely “what is cyberbullying, and how do you define it?”
Sometimes referred to as a troll, a cyber bully seeks out nothing but provocation of people, brands and circumstances by insulting, ranting, inflaming or misinforming users for nothing other than getting a kick out of angering others.
In the first instance, this should be treated for what it is – nothing but an empty, damaging act that is based on a skewed point of view of an individual. Though it may be convenient to sweep such acts under the carpet and treat them for what they are, many a time this is not enough. Negative comments, false information and constant, offensive ranting can affect your company by damaging your reputation, costing you brand affinity with your customers and dragging down morale amongst your workforce.
As a company however, it’s important to define between genuine complaints and cyberbullies. Most people contacting your company have honest issues or concerns which need to be addressed in utmost timeliness, care, and consideration. A cyberbully can many a time be clearly defined from the fact that they do not have a detailed issue or demand, their sole aim is to rant, start arguments or name-call.
From a corporate perspective, it is good governance to have a plan of action when it comes to cyber bullies by immediately responding, acknowledging and isolating the incident. Companies should stand firm, reaffirm their policies and call bullies out for what they are. The final means to deal with such issues is to report the user to the network administrators and have them removed from your pages, furthermore, in substantial cases, you may want to issue a public statement condoning cyberbullying, naming the person in question and outlining how it goes against your company policies.
Approaching Cyberbullying as a parent or individual
Melita and other companies aren’t the only ones susceptible to a cyberbullying attack. You, your children, spouse or other loved ones could indeed come under fire at any point in time. Here are some tips we think are very useful in dealing with such instances:
1. Firstly, treat it for what it is
A meaningless attempt by somebody who wants to ruin you or your child’s day. As such, don’t let them or their words affect you in any way.
2. Don’t engage
. Many cyberbullies thrive on reactions and retaliations, with their response many a time becoming sourer and more personal as the argument unfolds. Either remove yourself from the situation or downplay it as much as is possible.
Any form of online communication can be recorded, so that way, you have proof if things escalate and you need to reach out to third parties to help resolve the situation.
4. Stop the bully in their tracks.
Similar to what would be done in a business environment, you can instruct the bully to stop, reach out to community admins or outright block/remove that person from your online circles.
5. Help each other out.
If you notice somebody else being cyber bullied, stand up for them online. If the bully never finds any community resistance, they may assume that what they are doing is funny or entertaining.
6. Take a step back.
Try to understand the bully and where they are coming from. What is making them act in the way that they are? Are they going to move on to another victim if you stand your ground? Don’t respond in the moment, especially if anger is coursing through your veins. Respond thoughtfully.
In conclusion, the core thing to take home after this article is the fact that, cyber bullying should be disregarded as much as possible due to its unfruitful nature. On the other hand, It is also to be dealt with swiftly, confidently and in full uniformity.