June 07, 2015

KVR Gaming Feature: Dealing With Cyberbullying (Facebook)

Cyberbullying occurs across several avenues of online/mobile communication, far too many to accurately gauge. There are millions upon millions of websites on the internet, so dealing with each one will be impossible.

As such, I've decided to focus on a few prominent websites and use them as an example for dealing with cyberbullying across any platform. The most prominent social networks will be talked about in the coming weeks, new articles added as I see fit.

This is an ongoing series, so feel free to direct me to any sites which have a reputation of being frequent habitats for the ever-present cyberbully.

(Just don't link me to porn, okay?)

Basic Overview: Facebook is the world's most popular social networking site, with almost one and a half billion monthly active users. Peers connect by posting statuses, photos and videos, and by tagging (the person is included in your post, be it a photo, video or simple text status) other users in their posts for added connectivity. 

Users can also directly communicate with peers by dropping comments on posts or using Facebook's Messenger feature, which can be downloaded on mobile and used a la Whatsapp and BBM.

Danger Zones: One might already see where the harm might come in. Besides the Messenger feature, peers can post nasty statuses publicly degrading a friend/user, or tag them in embarrassing photos featuring the user in question, such a night of drunken tomfoolery or sexual escapes.

(Which is why you always have to act transparent and responsible in real-life, but that's beside the point.)

In my own experience, users often post angry messages on Facebook indirectly targeting other people. These posts are written in a vague manner attacking the character of someone they know, but not stating their name in the process, so as to claim innocence if the person in question gets mad at them.

If you're a user on Facebook, you may have come across this at one point or another. If I were to state my own opinion on this matter, I think it's every bit as bad as saying it to a person directly, and even worse in some aspects, because of the lack of honesty on the attacker's part.

Defensive Positions: Facebook thankfully offers several options for those who wish to avoid cyberbullies. Users can "unfriend" the person in question or even "block" them, making them entirely unable to attack you with their current account.

(They can, however, create a different account to harass you with, so be wary of this.)

Users may want to report offending users for cyberbullying if the issue persists. Cyberbullying is not a one-time deal, after all, so if you're a victim, make sure to report the user. Facebook made a great help section for those who want to report bullies on the site. Check it out here.

KVR Notes: Before we close off this article, I just want to draw attention to something. The following section goes into my personal beliefs, so if you don't want to read the following section, feel free to skip to the outro to conclude. Either way, here goes:

Because of the connections between people remaining the same, regardless where it's formed, one should always be hesitant to "unfriend" people on Facebook.

The end of any relationship, be it romantic or platonic, hurts on several varying levels, and leaves a scar on the person in question. If someone is giving you issues, consider talking things through with them instead of pulling the plug entirely on the friendship.

That doesn't mean one should have to suffer through bullying because you care about a person. Speaking from experience, sometimes the best you can do is step away and pray for them. Distance doesn't mean the end of a friendship; in fact, it could show the evidence of a true friend, one who chooses to do what's best for both parties, stopping the abuse, allowing the victim to fully bless the person in question.

So people, instead of casting the abuser off entirely, consider ways to significantly minimise or entirely eliminate the abuse, and choosing to pray for your bully. If there's no other way than to block them entirely, then it's probably for the best.

But remember: As hard as it may be to believe, the bully in question is a human just like yourself, and may have been through far worse events in their lifetime. Never cast them off entirely. Keep them in your prayers. That's what us servants of Christ are here for, isn't it?

Outro: Alright, that's it. I hope this short post was informative and gave you some good examples for dealing with cyberbullying. The next article will arrive sometime soon, focusing on a different social network.

Tune in tomorrow for more updates on when you can expect the next article, and for more information on KVR Gaming's upcoming reviews. This is Kyle signing out, telling you all to stay safe, and happy gaming!

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