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The Unfortunate Reality of Cyberbullying - And What You Can Do About It

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The Unfortunate Reality of Cyberbullying - And What You Can Do About It

Eric Cook by Eric Cook

Chief Digital Strategist

Contact author Full biography

Full biography

Eric considers himself a “recovering banker” of 15 years, who for the past eleven years has focused his efforts as a digital strategist, helping his clients (mostly community banks) better understand and leverage the power of the Internet as a strategic business tool. An award-winning web designer with WSI, the world’s largest digital agency network, Eric is a two-time contributing author to the best-selling book Digital Minds – 12 Things Every Business Needs to Know About Digital Marketing. Consistently rated in the top five digital marketing books on Amazon, the book is in its second edition and available in three languages.

A sought-after, nationally-recognized speaker in the financial services industry, Eric is a member of the National Speakers Association and loves sharing his knowledge to help educate and inspire others. He is the co-creator of a weekly webinar show called Free Webinar Wednesdays, founder of the Banker Education Series webinar series, and serves as a faculty member at several banking schools around the country where he teaches bankers about digital strategy, online marketing and social media. He is a WSI Certified LinkedIn Professional and holds undergraduate degrees in business administration and psychology. While working full-time as a community banker, Eric earned his MBA and completed the three-year Graduate School of Banking program in Madison, WI in 2003.

Professionally, Eric helps his clients in all areas of digital marketing, which includes mobile-responsive web development, search engine marketing and optimization, social media strategies, e-mail communication, and “big-picture” digital strategic planning. He’s the co-founder of DigitalRCP.com, a service created to help businesses understand their risk when it comes to operating in today’s digital world. When he’s not helping his clients succeed online, he can typically be found on one of his many bicycles training for his next mountain bike/triathlon race or spending time with his wife and two (very spoiled) golden retrievers.

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Summary:

Cyber-bulling is the use of the Internet and related technologies, such as cell phones, to harm other people, in a deliberate, repeated, and hostile manner.”

This week on my weekly webinar show, I was joined by social media attorney Deborah Gonzalez, to talk about the very real issue of cyberbullying. To many, this is seen as something that we only need to worry about if we have teenagers, but she shared that 1/3 of employees report they have been the victims of this at the workplace.

As you can see from this statistic, cyberbullying is becoming a digital life issue, not only for children, but adults as well. Why is cyberbullying important? Headlines are full of people misbehaving online, and we have not quite gotten the formula down to fight bad behavior on social media. It is important, and individuals need to be aware of this for themself, their family, and their surrounding community. Being aware of cyberbullying, and what it actually is) is the first step to avoiding it and staying safe.

Here are a few examples that Deborah shared with us on the show:

  • Threatening emails, text messages, and tweets
  • Electronic communication that contains jokes about ethnicity, religion, sexual orientation, or any other topic that makes an individual uncomfortable
  • Public shaming via mass email
  • Sharing embarrassing, offensive, or manipulated images or videos of an individual
  • Spreading lies and gossip

Cyberbullying is found on all types of social media platforms (blog post comments, Facebook posts, tweets on Twitter, images on Instagram, etc.). Individual’s words do not act alone, they are spoken and written within context, and this context can come across to individuals in many ways:

  • Actual words
  • Sequence of words
  • Tone
  • Medium in which they are channeled
  • White space
  • Actions (before and after)

Given that much of what we do online is non-verbal, we have created emojis and digital emoticons to help express our feelings since we are unable to see body language and facial expressions over the Internet. These are important when interpreting a conversation, but they too can be used as part of the bullying process.

Deborah shared there are many different types of legal actions that can be taken when dealing with cyberbullying, and also shared several tips to help deal with this issue without having to take the matters to the extreme. Some helpful tips include:

  • Recognize when it is happening, by paying close attention to your online profiles and what others are saying about you,
  • Consider not responding to the person bullying you, since in may cases these people are doing it to build controversy (i.e. “don’t feed the trolls”),
  • Document the message, photos, or videos using screenshots so that you have a record, even if the information is deleted later on,
  • Contact the ISP (internet service provider), file a report with the local police, or even consider filing a complaint with the internet crime complaint center.

Check out the full webinar to see real life examples of celebrities and how they have been cyber-bullied over the Internet! And, if you’d like more help in protecting your personal (or business) identity, be sure to visit www.DigitalRCP.com.

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