You see someone being unfairly attacked online… what do you do?
You’ve got a few choices:
- You can do nothing –> Unless your personal safety or that of people you care about is at risk, doing nothing is a lost opportunity to speak out against online hostility or to reach out to a target who may need support
- You can send the person being attacked a private message of support –> Targets often feel alone and vulnerable, so sending them a message of support is great
- You can contact the attacker privately and tell them your feelings about what they’re doing –> Depending on the volatility and receptiveness of the attacker this can be risky, but has been known to work in some situations and can even change the behavior of the attacker
- You can take a public position criticizing the attack and/or supporting the target –> This is a good way to show others that you find the attack unacceptable and it also encourages those more shy or reluctant to speak out as well, but be careful that your criticism of the attack doesn’t become an attack itself
- You can counterattack –> CiviliNation doesn’t support this approach and also doesn’t believe it’s effective since it runs a strong risk of quickly escalating and continuing a conflict
For suggestions of what bystanders of school bullying can do, check out this post by Rosalind Wisemen, author of Queen Bees and Wannabes.