According to FederalCharges.com, “There are no federal laws at this time that address bullying or cyberbullying. But bullying does overlap with discriminatory harassment if it is based upon race, color, sex, age, religion or disability. In some cases, federal stalking charges can be brought against offenders.”
If you Google it, cyberbullying stories are rampant. People of all ages, races, denominations, and nationalities are cyberbullied on a daily basis. In 2016, 9-year-old Jackson Grubb hanged himself after repeatedly being bullied. Nine years old. It’s got to stop. We stop bullying by speaking out against it and doing something.
“Inciting an online hate campaign does not make you relevant.”
I love love love that sentence. Writer Hadley Freeman penned that in an article this summer. Bullies are weak and feel strength behind an electronic screen and a keyboard.
Dogs Are Under Cyber Attack
We are vulnerable when we post something on an electronic playground. You click “post” or “publish” and wait for the likes, re-tweets, comments, re-pins, shares, and general kindness of strangers to light up your screen like a Christmas tree. Often times, the ugliest and nastiest, meanest and vilest of creatures surface and shoo their fleas on your moment of sunshine. Trolls, yes, but even scarier, wolves in wolves clothing. A real person with a real name with a real profile with the name of a real town in which their cyber hate resides just told you what a complete *&^%$#&@# you are and that you are going to burn in hell for having a dog. The dog is:
• Too skinny
• Too fat
• Old and should be put down
• A dog and as such, a nasty creature who should live outside
And so on. Trolls are so 2014. Owning your hate and claiming your spot in history’s trail of evil is a new norm for some. Some are now too many.
If you put yourself out there on social media, don’t be surprised when someone comes at you. You can’t ignore vile comments when your career is in social media. You can’t ignore it when you spend time on social media in any capacity.
Common Human Decency
Be polite, be courteous, be civil, be thoughtful, be tactful, and behave. Simple, right? People are angry and dogs are a target. Bullies generally attack those whom they feel are weaker and/or inferior. Dogs can’t speak, so they are easy targets. This applies to pets in general. Bullies succeed when the behavior continues or escalates.
I don’t understand vandals and I don’t understand bullies, cyber or otherwise. I do, however, have an understanding of how to handle cyberbullies when your dog is attacked online:
• Ignore or block any communication with the bully. Each social media platform has its own system for blocking people. Do it.
• File a complaint with the social media platform. Save screen shots, URLs, etc. to share with them.
• Delete the comment.
• If you are involved with social media or blogging online, my best advice is to not engage the haters. It’s easier to delete their comments and block them when possible. It’s up to you to decide what the line is between visible comments versus banning the hate.
• Remind yourself that your dog rocks. Cyberbullies are the equivalent of online vandals. Their goal is to tear you down and make you feel bad. They win when you feel like you lose.
What Not To Do to CyberBullies
Don’t argue with a cyberbully. You cannot win. A cyberbully’s fuel is inciting a fire and fanning the flames to keep it going. The more comments made and the more hateful the conversation gets, the more the bully enjoys it.
Do not feed into the negativity. Cyberbullying negatively affects adults, too, and dogs we love.
Don’t perpetuate the behavior by saying mean and nasty things back. Is it any wonder that teens are engaging in online (and real life) hateful behavior? If adults are doing it, this becomes the norm.
There are also cyberbullying laws in place. Click for a brief review of cyberbullying laws and policies by state.
Don’t share their comments across social media. You feed the beast in doing this.
My heart beats dog and love always trumps hate.
By Sarah Zumhofe