I'm going off topic today to discuss bullying. Unfortunately, sometimes when we disagree or have different views, some people feel it's ok to bully or be nasty. When did we as a society feel it's ok to be so horrible to each other?
You're probably wondering, how does this mix with Virtual Assistants (VAs).? I'll show you.
The days of the bigger kids picking on, pushing, being nasty to the smaller kids, are long gone. Now we have Cyber Bullying. According to UNICEF (unicef.org), cyber bullying is defined as: bullying with the use of digital technologies. It can take place on social media, messaging platforms, gaming platforms and mobile phones. It is repeated behavior, aimed at scaring, angering or shaming those who are targeted. Examples include:
spreading lies about or posting embarrassing photos of someone on social media
sending hurtful messages or threats via messaging platforms
impersonating someone and sending mean messages to others on their behalf.
In my opinion, cyber bullying is the worse form of bullying. Why? Because we can't see them, know who they are, confront them or know who to protect ourselves from. We call them keyboard bullies, because that's their safe zone to attack others while remaining anonymous.
The physical effects of cyber bullying
When bullying happens online it can feel as if you’re being attacked everywhere, even inside your own home. It can seem like there’s no escape. The effects can last a long time and affect a person in many ways:
Mentally — feeling upset, embarrassed, stupid, even angry
Emotionally — feeling ashamed or losing interest in the things you love
Physically — tired (loss of sleep), or experiencing symptoms like stomach aches and headaches
The feeling of being laughed at or harassed by others, can prevent people from speaking up or trying to deal with the problem. In extreme cases, cyber bullying can even lead to people taking their own lives.
Social Media and Cyber Bullying
Social media has so many wonderful and useful things for almost everything in our daily lives. Technology is involved in our everyday lives. However, it's also a breeding ground for bullying.
Our children are being targeted without us parents even realizing it. We may think they're just listening to music or sharing harmless photos with friends. But, we don't see the heartbeat racing, stomach pain, headaches and fear inside.
Parents can search online for organizations that provide in-depth parental reviews of apps, platforms and games used by children to learn more about them. By learning about the risks, important security features, and other details about the apps, platforms, and games children want to use, parents can make an informed decision about how or if their child will use them.
Stop bullying (stopbullying.gov) provides some scary statistics:
How Common Is Bullying:
About 20% of students ages 12-18 experienced bullying nationwide.
Students ages 12–18 who reported being bullied said they thought those who bullied them:
Had the ability to influence other students’ perception of them (56%).
Had more social influence (50%).
Were physically stronger or larger (40%).
Had more money (31%)
Among students ages 12-18 who reported being bullied at school during the school year, 15 % were bullied online or by text.
An estimated 14.9% of high school students were electronically bullied in the 12 months prior to the survey.
Types of Bullying
Students ages 12-18 experienced various types of bullying, including:
*Being the subject of rumors or lies (13.4%)
*Being made fun of, called names, or insulted (13.0%)
*Pushed, shoved, tripped, or spit on (5.3%)
*Threatened with harm (3.9%)
*Others try make them do things they did not want to do (1.9%)
*Property was destroyed on purpose (1.4%)
What do we (Virtual Assistants) have to do with cyber bullying?
Seriously? Our titles are VIRTUAL Assistants. We spend our work (and play) hours online. If you see something that doesn't look right, report it! If you're in a group and you notice people ganging up and being nasty to someone, report it. If you see other VAs advertising "adult services", report it. It's that simple! We will come across harmful and/ or hurtful people everyday because again....we are VIRTUAL. If you don't speak up, you're allowing these bullies to continue their attacks. Let's put our professional talents to work and help prevent and stop bullying.
The old adage, “sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never harm me” does not apply in the worlds of Internet technology, where false, hurtful or humiliating comments can go viral and global in just seconds. Once we push send, we can't bring it back!
“I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
― Maya Angelou