5 Traits To Look Out For In A Cyberbully And How To Stop Them

Cyberbullying has been on the rise in Malaysia. Here's what you can do to stop it.

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1. Cyberbullies love to troll people

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In Internet slang, a troll is someone who purposely sows discord online to get a response. Once someone falls for the "bait", the troll then proceeds to provoke them further.

2. They post sensitive information of another person with the intention of getting others to harass this person

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Last year, Kiki Kamaruddin was the conversation starter as a video of her road rage went viral. Shortly after, Malaysians took it upon themselves to post personal information about her online and she even received rape threats.

3. They will say mean things to you even if they don't know you

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Cyberbullies don't care who you are. They don't care if you're Tan Ah Seng or Justin Bieber, they will try to put you down by saying mean things to you. With the power of anonymity, this makes it easier for them to get away scot-free.

4. Creating fake account and pretending to be someone else

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Cyberbullies go out of the way to make things believable. It could be impersonating a good looking guy or girl to grab your attention, only to reveal themselves later. Some may see it as a joke but it's no laughing matter. Two teenage girls were arrested in Florida and charged with cyberstalking after creating a fake Facebook page impersonating another student and using it to bully her.

5. They make serious threats that may affect your personal safety

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Cyberbullies can make personal threats that can affect your safety. "I know where you live, so you better watch out" is an example.

But you can stop them as well. Here's what you can do:

1. Screen cap and gather evidence by documenting all threats made to you

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Screen capping threats is an excellent way to prove that you're a victim of cyberbullying. Note down the time, date of said post. This will make your case stronger when there is solid proof.

2. Talk to somebody you trust

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Your parents, a favourite teacher, school administrators, counsellors, and even police officers can help you deal with cyberbullying. Your school’s policies may have rules against cyberbullying that these trusted adults can enlist to help you. It’s also helpful to talk to friends or a counsellor so you can get their support when you are feeling upset by hurtful comments. There is no reason to suffer alone when you are the target of bullying.

3. Do not respond to cyberbullies and trolls

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If you can avoid it, don't respond to it. One of the unwritten rules of the Internet is "don't feed the trolls". This means to avoid responding even if it provokes you. Trolls need you to respond and if you don't respond, they can't do anything.

4. Cut off the bully

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Many social networks give the user the option to block and cut others. Minimise and restrict the bully's capabilities to harass you by blocking them online. If the situation persists, you can also report them to the site administrator and give them the evidence that you have screen capped for you to have a strong case.

5. If the situation is serious and you feel that your life is in danger, report them to the authorities

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If you are a victim of cyberbullying, don’t be afraid to report the incidents to the relevant people like your parents, a teacher you trust, a counselor, or in extreme cases, the authorities like the police, or the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC).

Section 233 of the Communications and Multimedia Act 1998 in particular deals with harassment conducted with the use of communication services which includes the transmission of "obscene, indecent, false, menacing or offensive" content that is meant to "annoy, abuse, threaten or harass" another person.

Take note, however, that your report has to be accompanied by sufficient evidence of the cyberbullying incidents in order for MCMC to evaluate the level of criminality before deciding if there are grounds for investigation.

If you or anyone you know is a victim of cyberbullying, know that you are not alone. Klik Dengan Bijak has some tips on how to identify and effectively block these bullies on the cyberspace here.