Cyber-mobbing is a particularly cruel and insidious form of cyberbullying that is facing kids and teens online. It involves ganging up on someone using tactics of rumor, innuendo, discrediting, isolating, intimidating, and above all, making it look as if the targeted person is responsible (victim blaming).
A tragic example demonstrates the horrific outcomes that cyber-mobbing can have. In 2013 in Lakeland Florida, 12-year-old Rebecca Ann Sedwick jumped to her death in an apparent suicide. The authorities said that as many as 15 girls ganged up on Rebecca and teased her, bombarding her with online messages such as “You should die” and “Why don’t you go kill yourself.” This young girl was not only the victim of one cyberbully, but of many.
It is hard to tell who is instigating cyber-mobbing attacks. It might seem to the target as if many people are involved, yet in reality the group might be small. It may even be due to a single ringleader. If this ringleader is an extrovert it will be obvious who is coercing group members into mobbing the selected target. If the ringleader is an introvert, he or she is likely to be in the background coercing and manipulating group members into mobbing the selected target. Throughout the mobbing experience, the target is often deceived into fighting, blaming and trying to hold accountable the minor bullies of the mobbing group rather than the chief bully. Worse, the victim of the online harassment often is held entirely or partially at fault and responsible for their own harm.
So how can parents help kids and teens prevent or handle a cyber-mobbing situation?
Always take cyberbullying and cyber-mobbing seriously. Stop believing it is not happening. It IS happening.
Talk, talk talk. Communication is key. Learn all you can about social media and your child’s online and offline life.
Ask kids and teens questions: I’ve been reading a lot about cyber-mobbing/cyberbullying. Does cyberbullying happen a lot? Do you know anyone it’s happening to? Would you feel comfortable telling me if you were being cyberbullied? Do you feel like your friends would be supportive of you if you told them you were being cyberbullied? Have you ever had to delete a post or comment on your page that was written by someone else? I love you and am here for you if you need me.
Be a social media mentor and role model. Parent-mentor, sibling-mentor and friend-mentors all can help people struggling in cyberspace.
KIDS AND TEENS:
- Never respond to online harassment. Instead: Block and delete the post.
- If you are being threatened in anyway, gather and save evidence.
- Take all the evidence to your parents, your school, or any other appropriate party, so your parents can contact ISP and/or law enforcement.
- And most importantly, make a positive decision to leave the situation and refuse to allow these people to continue to ruin your life. No one has the right to hurt you!
If you or someone you know is being cyberbullied or cyber-mobbed, get the help you need HERE!
Source: Stomp Out Bullying February 2019 Newsletter