Dealing with Online Harassment

Dealing with Online Harassment

There is a misconception that online harassment is just part and parcel of being online. While it may be impossible to stop the phenomena itself in total, we don’t need to suffer under it as individuals.

Dealing with harassment is the same as surpassing any other conflict. The best thing we can do is just not be there. If that is impossible, we can try to solve the issue by ourselves or to call for some help. Thankfully, there are tools out there to help us protect our identity and our devices from any unwanted communication that we can encounter.

While some will be able to brush off childish attacks as if they are nothing, others will need some layers. If you have a premium VPN, such as Le VPN, you can completely conceal your identity when you are online.

Protecting your identity is what is a VPN used for in the first place. This way, the person attacking you won’t be able to find a weak point where they can pull on your nerves and emotions.

What Constitutes Online Harassment?

Dealing with Online Harassment. | Le VPN

By strict definition, harassment is any type of prolonged unwanted communication. But, when we are online, it can come in several forms.

The primary form of online harassment is someone flooding your social media feed with insults. This can be done by a single person, or in the form of a dog pile done by multiple people. Regardless, if it is anything more than a single reaction to a single action, you are being harassed.

Aside from insults, there is also abuse. This can be done as doxxing, swatting, or publishing private material, but the list doesn’t end there. Especially if someone is using their social or technical position to abuse you online that becomes harassment by default.

Additionally, if someone is using their IRL position for abuse, this is a criminal offense in most places and can be considered blackmail.

Finally, there is cyberstalking. If you have someone following you everywhere you go online and creeping about, that can be considered stalking and harassment. You are the one who sets the line here, as any following that becomes unpleasant for you should be blocked, muted, or reported.

You don’t need to Take Anything

Not every type of online harassment is a criminal offense or even something that demands a ban on some platform. But, that doesn’t mean that you should suffer anything. If you are not okay with any type of communication, it is entirely your prerogative to stop that communication.

We have different preferences when it comes to communication. All of them are okay to have.

While you won’t get any ‘victim points’ for getting in a twitter brawl you don’t want to finish, there is nothing wrong with simply blocking or muting the other person and going along with your day.

Prevention is the Best Remedy

The best thing you can do to avoid getting harassed online is to prevent people from knowing personal information about you. You don’t always need to create a full-time online avatar, but it is a good idea to use a pen name or a pseudonym.

By using a VPN, you can change the reported location of your device, and the rest can be concealed by simply not telling people where you are from.

Finally, discussions online can be quite toxic and confrontational. If you have any emotional issues that may be triggered by this sort of correspondence, sometimes it is best simply not to engage.

Keep a Stiff Upper Lip

Cyberbullying works in the same way as bullying in real life. Once the sharks have a taste of blood, they go into a feeding frenzy. At that point, nothing will dissuade the perpetrator from backing off and stop.

That is why you should never light up online. If you feel your blood pressure rising, take a deep breath, and relax. These are just people online. And, with the best mobile security app, you are the master of your own cyberspace.

If you have had enough, simply block or mute the person. And if that is not possible, report them to the platform. Even if you are starting to break, keep a cool facade online.

Report to the Platform

While instances when some communication becomes a criminal offense are rare, terms of service provided by the platform are usually much stricter when it comes to harassment.

In these cases, it is much better to report any unwanted communication to the platform and let the moderators deal with the issue. This will prevent the bully from sending you messages and might even block their alternative accounts as well.

Report to the Authorities

Insults and provocations are one, but the moment someone sends you a death threat, or starts stalking you everywhere you go, report them to the police that instant. Don’t wait, don’t argue, don’t send any messages back, just file a report.

Even if that person is across the world, their local police will deal with them, and they should. It shouldn’t be up to you to determine who is ‘for real’ and who is just edgy. A death threat is a death threat.

Conclusion

Nobody should deal with abuse, on or off the internet. But, it is probable that every one of us will experience this type of behavior sooner or later. The important thing is not to let it get to us.

Premium VPN providers like Le VPN allow you to hide your devices, and a good pen name will hide your real identity. These tactics, combined with a trigger happy block button, will let you browse the internet freely.

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Written by Vuk Mujović @VukMujovic

Vuk Mujović

Vuk Mujović is the founder of MacTíre Consulting, an analyst, data management expert, and a long-term writer on all things business & tech. He authored blogs, articles, and opinion pieces aimed to help both companies and individuals achieve growth without compromising their security. Vuk is a regular guest author to Le VPN Blog since January 2018, where he gives his expert opinion on the topics related to cybersecurity, privacy, online freedom, and personal data protection. He also often shares his tips and best practices in relation to internet security and digital safety of private individuals and small businesses, including some additional applications of using a VPN service.

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