Cyber bullying is becoming a huge issue among children these days as kids target each other online without understanding the rules and dangers of the Internet. This leads to low self-esteem, anxiety, and in some cases, suicide. But it doesn’t stop there. There seems to be a generalization that cyber bullying is outside of the adult realm of intellect and responsibility, but cyber bullying is not just an issue for kids and teens (we often hear the terms “trolling,” “cyber harassment,” or “cyber stalking” for adults, but they are one and the same). While most adults understand protecting their personal information and not buying into taunts on the Internet, there are a growing number of malicious cyber bullying attacks as revenge against exes and jealous others.
It’s not just children who can take bullying too far. Sites such as ShesAHomeWrecker.com begin with “good” intentions to out adultery, but at the cost of the reputations and sanity of other women (mistress or not, you have to question whether they deserve death threats from strangers). Sites like this allow others to anonymously upload photos and personal information of others (in this case, mistresses) for public ridicule. These “revenge sites” are especially problematic because a former trusted person of the victim usually sources them anonymously. If you have an ex-boyfriend, girlfriend, or even best friend or family member, they know much more personal information about you than you would ever make available on the Internet.[youtube_sc url=”http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BNN_mt80Efo”]
According to ABC news, “Dana Scott, 29, said she found her name and location plastered on ShesAHomewrecker.com after she had ended an affair with a married man three years ago. Since the post about the affair appeared on the site a few months ago, Scott said she has been bombarded with insulting comments, derogatory names, even death wishes, online.”
There are even sites devoted to defamation for people to go to who are feeling down so they can take out their anger on “bad people.” As BullingStatistics.org states, “The goal of an adult bully is to gain power over another person, and make himself or herself the dominant adult.” Many adults turn to this kid of outlet to make themselves feel more powerful to counteract a situation in which they do not.
But it’s not just revenge. In a world that is ever evolving online, people feel freer to voice their opinions on forums, blogs, and social media, which opens the door to others who also feel the freedom to argue those opinions, and even something that starts as a respectful discussion between two commenters can quickly get out of hand. Even if you don’t post all your personal information online, someone who is angry enough at you can track down enough information to make threats. And it’s not just self esteem that’s at stake with adult cyber bullying, cyber bullies can tarnish online reputations, causing victims to get fired from jobs and unable to get interviews for new ones or alienating them from family and friends.
Continued from the ABC story, Dana Scott, victim of ShesAHomwrecker.com cyber bullying, says, “To the future employer Googling me, and reading all of those comments on the website, seeing all those things, who would want to hire me? It wouldn’t matter how good of a nurse I was. That would go out the window and they would be like ‘We don’t want this woman to work here. We don’t want the bad publicity.’ It’s not fair.”
At this point, many victims of adult cyber bullying are at a loss of what to do. Even if they ignore the harassment, adult cyber bullies often feed off each other rather than just the reactions of the victim and in the adult world, there are no parents, teachers, or adult figures to turn to and make it all better. The only course to take is legal action, which can cost hundreds, if not, thousands of dollars, and can be a painful process since this action is often against someone the victim knows.
Think twice before you post. Cyber bullying is much easier to perform than you think. Simply making fun of a photo of someone or bashing something a celebrity did in an interview are forms of cyber bullying. Any situation in which a person feels harassed, humiliated, or threatened is an instance of cyber bullying.
What to do if you are a victim of adult cyber bulling
Tell the person not to make contact with you again (this is a warning that will help you legally later), but do not indulge in any other contact or retaliate.
Block the user on all social media sites who is abusing you and double check your privacy settings to make sure you are only sharing information with people you want to see it.
Report the user to the site administrator. Many sites these days have strict policies against harassment and can help you make it stop.
Document everything. Take screenshots of all the examples of harassment and keep conversations in your own saved documents.
Contact the police and report the harassment. No one should have to be threatened, and if you cannot handle or stop online bullying, you should try to seek out help from an authority who can. We at North American Investigations can help you out.
Have you ever been a victim of adult cyber bullying? What did you do to fix the situation? Send us your tips in the comments section below.