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Is there a stigma towards adult Cyberbullying?

When we think about cyberbullying, we tend to attribute the behaviour to the young. There is a reason for that. It is extremely high among today's youth and this is down to the generation born with technology at their finger tips. They have adapted to a new way of communicating that is less in person or on the phone and more digitally based. However, cyberbullying is also on the rise between adults. As we become more tech savvy and more involved online, we become more vulnerable to cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is no longer just a youth based concern.

Adults may or may not use the same communication platforms as youth, social media is a shared tool, as are other ones, but also adults use forums and post in the comment sections on media sites more. Forums and chat rooms were the main source of communication on the internet (when not engaging in email) back in the late 1990's and early 00's. Many older adults still find this mode of communication easier and more familiar. Facebook and the comment sections of popular news sites are also a favorite among those above 30.

As adults, we are expected ( by societies standards) to have grown out of bullying behavior or have adapted resiliency and coping skills. We know that neither of this is true, nor is it our fault is we fall victim to a bully at any stage in our life. Which is why the above mentality is slowly changing and why work place bullying has been a huge hot topic in recent years.But with cyberbullying, we still may have a long way to go. It isn't discussed as much and the old belief that an adult has more power to end or walk away from online confrontation, is still very much alive.

This mentality may play a role in adults keeping incidents of cyberbullying quiet. They also may feel that by reporting or discussing it, It could be viewed as weakness. Furthermore, that they may have brought it upon themselves. It is true, we can minimize our role in instigating conflict online, but that doesn't mean systematic and ongoing abuse is okay. Here at Cybersmile, adults and youth can request and receive support without judgement. But many suffer in silence.

Have you encountered cyberbullying and felt that you couldn't discuss it with your friends, co workers or reached out online for help due to the above?

What specifically would you like to see more of to help engage adults in the seriousness of adult cyberbullying? Furthermore, what can we learn from today's youth?
I would just like to add, should you or know anyone who is, affected by adult cyberbullying, you can find great resources here at Cybersmile as mentioned above. Here is the link. You are not alone!

Another useful link for adult victims of cyberbullying is this one www.cybersmile.org/what-we-do/total-access-support
It has all the information about the various Cybersmile support services.
Adults who get cyberbullied can be more vulnerable than some young people if they are unfamiliar with the problem and don't know how to deal with it. For an adult there can also be many other issues including work/professional damage and family issues.
There is much adults can learn from young people about coping and dealing with online abuse. Any tips out there from any young people on the forum?
This is such a great topic, and I'm so glad Reflective Joy brought it up. I think that if you're on any of the social media platforms -- Facebook or Twitter mostly for older people -- you at one point or another will encounter cyber-bullying.

The "stigma" that you mention isn't imagined -- There are studies out there (and I would need to do some digging to cite them, but I know I've seen them more than once) about how the more active you are on social media, it seems to be an "indicator" that you may be "off balance" emotionally. These studies bother me a lot, because I am obviously very involved in social media, especially Twitter.

The reasons for getting on social media and the length to which you participate on it vary from person to person ... but like anything in life, if you are doing something a lot, then you have more exposure to the adverse sides of it, or the risks. For example, if you drove a truck for a living, you of course would be more exposed to vehicular accidents. Does the higher exposure mean you're a bad truck driver? No -- it just means that you're operating in an arena where you have more of a chance of being in an accident than someone like me, who works at home for a living.

So the same can be said for social media. I find that I interact heavily on Twitter, ironically, when I'm in the process of writing up an article that is due to an editor. I could probably analyze all of the reasons here, but suffice it to say, that's when my interaction goes way up. Now if I'm on it more, then I have more of a chance of encountering someone who is on there for a *different* reason, i.e., to harass other people, which increases my chances for interacting with a cyber bully.

So back to your original question, which is the stigma for adults who are targeted. What does it say about you if you're bullied online? Does it mean you're "unhinged" because you're interacting with someone who is a bully? Does it mean you have the incapacity to "walk away?"

I think what people have to remember is that cyber bullies engage in behavior that pushes other people's buttons deliberately. So when you encounter someone like this, no matter your age, emotional stability, professional stature, that person who is bullying you is effective BECAUSE they have found that button to push. We all have those "buttons." It says nothing about your value as a person or stability that you have buttons to push. And it says nothing about your stability if you have the unfortunate situation to run into someone who likes pushing them.

So what do you do?

The bottom line for me comes down to something my late father always told me:

"Choose your battles."

If anyone ever sees me engaging a bully online, it's because I have made the *choice* to do it. I'm better at this than I was a few years ago when I first discovered Twitter. I think this is a personal thing for everybody. You have to decide if this cyberbully is *worth* your time and engagement.

You know what? Sometimes it is worth my time. Sometimes I do stand up to the person and have at it. Sometimes I make a point to stop what I am doing and give the person an opportunity to "punch" at me. But it only comes after I stop and ask myself, "Do I want to deal with this right now?"

If the answer is no, that's where the "Block" button is handy, and I just return to my work at hand or go walk the dog. Sometimes you just have to admit to yourself, "OK, this person pushed one of MY emotional buttons, and I need to cool off and stop talking to them."

So just to recap this long-winded reply ...
1) Recognize that you have emotional "buttons" that bullies know how to push. When they find your Achilles' heel, acknowledge this to yourself and don't beat yourself up for having this "button." Everybody has a button (or several).
2) Choose your battles. Decide whether this is one that you want to fight -- and if you do fight it, that it's worth it. And if it's not worth it, divert yourself with another activity and block the person, because within 5 minutes, all of this will be a very faint memory.
3) Don't beat yourself up if you get sucked in by a cyberbully if you're an adult. They're called "cyberbullies" for a reason. Your age and maturity level has nothing to do with it and everything to do with them. We've all gotten sucked in if we're online and interacting with strangers. Move on and just learn from the experience.

Good topic! (And oh by the way, the other time I get on social media is when I have insomnia. So if you see me "fighting" with someone on Twitter at 3:48 a.m. US EST ... 1 + 1 = Heidi is fighting with a cyber bully because she isn't sleeping. That's not good, either. In that case, Heidi heads over to the Cybersmile chat room ...)
Great thread. So true what you say about choice, choosing your battles. It really is that simple, once you recognise that your buttons are being pushed it is your choice. It is important to also remember that you are in no way obligated to justify your opinions, defend yourself or respond in any way to someone who just wants to cause problems. Block and move on!!
Adults think they can deal with bullying but some just make it worse by arguing back and feeding the trolls! More adults need to lead by example rather than getting involved in the trenches with trolls!

In reply to GamerGirl

That is victimising
For me personally I am a vulnerable adult
I suffer severe complex PTSD from multiple traumas bullying abuse near death experiences etc
I struggle greatly to control my ptsd anger or rage when confronted or attacked or bullied online it’s a trigger for me and ptsd goes into autopilot defence to protect itself I like to learn how to control and stop it I’ve been trying for years now
Many times online I’m targetted by Narcissist
Support groups for depressions ptsd trauam where it’s the support there that become,s admin to attack vulnerable members
Groups and strangers
And even had endured slander lies spread my photo and profile spread telling folk to attack my profile and send me messages to give piece of their minds
Some of these weren’t direct attacks to me so I never responded to them n had no ways to defend myself other than blocking but it didn’t stop many folk attacking me I didn’t know on my messages daily
I’ve endured a lot more this than this and it got to the point after even an abusive relationship I was trying to also get out of a support group I seek for help and support ended up abusing me and attacking my personal profile reporting it for nudity and things
I started not trusting support
Stoooed reaching out for help
Started completely isolating myself
Stopped eating and sleeping and after couple of weeks of it continuing after the initial month that it started finding only help for children on Cyberbullying online none targetted even for vulnerable adults I started planning the best way to take my own life
Someone saved my life then but suicide attempts happened again over the next 5 years since I’ve very lucky to be here
But yet again I’m cyberbullied by a gang of young adult males who triggered me in their attack against women rights
N yet again helpless to stop ptsd defence against their attacks
It led off to full blown bullying which kept my ptsd reaction as if I’m in danger all over again n trapped in this loop while they call me butthurt
And over reacting I wish it was really that
I don’t put my ego first and I’m usually good st holding in my feelings to the point they destroy me inside before anyone ever hears how something has affected me
I have control those things
I just can’t control ptsd fight mode
And afterward I shame and beat myself up and hate myself for it
I feel so isolated and hopeless helpless and hating myself and been having thoughts of suicide again I decide enough is enough there has to be something online to help me only yet to face more stigma toward adult victims of Cyberbullying
And one article saying adult victims are not emergency and don’t matter or come first compared to children
Well we do when it is vulnerable situation n we are thinking about taking our lives or even acting in it
Why does it need to go on that long without help support empathy of other to get to that point in the first place it affects adults just as much as children I have all the same effects and injury to bullying as an adult as I did as a child
So why is it not treated the same
The people who claim that it isn’t n adult have more control
Have never endured emotional abuse and gaslighting manipulating abuse Narcissist abuse etc
Can say something? I know been bullied on internet isn't nice got life ban for report some one called me mean names won't listern believe the bullied side. I t happon on public bus teenage are bullying other schools on public bus be on bus for three hours waiting till stop fighting. I surf from panic attack even I been bullied by teenage and Adults because see my hearing aids and get nastery comments " Half deaf shouldn't travel on bus" " Why got bus pass not over 65 years old" "You not disable you not in wheelchairs" Hide disability of Dyspraxia and half deaf wish people understand I do learn support group at farm talk about bullying what should Adults do?Sorry going off topic but thought nightlight all bullying for e.g Can't do volunteer?ask why "Because half deaf" at happon to me