Cyberbullying is one of the challenges students contend with which tends to affect their academic performance adversely. It involves the use of information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated and hostile behaviour by individuals or groups. How then can international students handle cyberbullying? Here are some ways.
The aim of cyberbullying is usually to harm others via text messages, rumours spread on social media, embarrassing pictures and videos, etc. There are several ways in which international students can handle cyberbullying. They include:
1. Speak Out
If you are a victim of cyberbullying, don’t suffer in silence. Speak to someone who can help; a parent, friend, professor, mentor or an authority figure. Similarly, there are campus resources that can help you. They include counselling services, security services, LGBTQ groups, religious and cultural organizations, and other student organizations.
Speaking out or blowing the whistle is a very important proactive measure to take. It will cause the relevant authority to take necessary steps to bring about redress for you and other victims. It will also serve as a deterrent to others.
2. Maintain a Social Circle
Given the seriousness of the situation, it is advised that students avoid isolating themselves. Depriving themselves of any sort of support will not resolve the issue either, it will simply embolden the perpetrators. One of the ways international students can combat cyberbullying successfully is by maintaining a social circle. This is good for your self-esteem.
3. Be mindful of your Online Posts
It is advisable to keep your password a secret from others save for those you absolutely trust like parents/siblings. If care is not taken in this direction, cyberbullies could get wind of your password and use it in ways you don’t want.
Be equally mindful of your social media posts because they can make you vulnerable to cyberbullies. To prevent this, ensure that your posts are wholesome and you control who sees what using your Privacy Settings.
4. Stand up for Others
Whether you’re a victim or not, you can play a key role in containing and/or alleviating cyberbullying on campus. You can start by being kind to students who are bullied and even extend a hand of friendship to them. Discourage other students from teasing or laughing at and making victims feel ashamed or uncomfortable.
This is a simple step that can go a long way in restoring a student’s self-esteem and courage. It will also serve as a good example for other students who in turn will be willing to stand up for others thus taking the power away from the bullies.
5. Get Involved
Yet again, you can choose to champion the cause against cyberbullying in your campus community. You can do this by speaking bolding against it at student programs and other circles where students are commonly found. Similarly, you and other like-minded students can create posters, write blogs, articles and tweet against cyberbullying. The more students get involved in the fight agaist it is the more pressure they put on perpetrators to stop.