Saturday, 14 April 2018

Cyberbullying- Some self defense tips.

My first two years of high school were not anything I'd like to remember.

Kids loved picking on me and luck had it that I was stuck in a class with a large group of kids who threw stuff at me, stole my book case and had tons of negative remark to make about me. Also- because I was afraid of heights it was lots of fun to grab hold of me and dangle me over great heights as I screamed for dear life.

Yes- that is how I met humanity during my formative years and I have survived it.

For the record- I LOVE saying that none of those kids were Chinese or Black- so SUCK ON THAT anyone who  looks at me funny for having friends in these two ethnic groups...

But I digress. What I have experienced in High School is what my generation knew as bullying.

We of course had no cellphones and social media did not exist.

You did not dare sass any adults in their face, because you would get the living daylights smacked out of you if you dared and if you wanted to insult a peer you first made sure that you were able to handle the retaliation that was sure to follow.

Then the Internet came. Soon a bunch of kids found the thrill of throwing insults at strangers far away without fear of retaliation. Before the advent of social media as we know it this had happened in chatrooms where the worst retaliation anyone could manage was something like this...

But internet users enjoyed a much larger measure than anonymity in those days, so threats like this really did not do much more than scared people who did not know a lot about computers.

When social media came about internet users became a lot more exposed. We put personal information out there for anyone to see and the occasional photo with which we could be embarrassed (if you can really be blackmailed with your own stuff you are really "special").

Now- the kids who used to make obscene jokes with strangers in internet chatrooms grew up and some got kids of their own. Among this new generation of kids, An online AL QAIDA armed with cellphones and laptops supplied by a CIA we call THEIR PARENTS we suddenly saw the dawn of an era where big strong jocks run scared of nerdy kids who have them in fear of opening their own inboxes or social media pages.

Am I exaggerating? I guess I am.

Still- the abuse flung about by internet users soon got a name:

We call it:


Must say- it sounds cool. At first an uninformed person might think it means something like receiving a wedgy from a cyborg jock at some school the Jetsons send their kids off to, but it refers to people verbally abusing others on online forums. 

Schools have started taking notice. Governments have taken notice.

People started writing articles on it. I quickly found these 3 articles on the topic with a Google search-

Now- I have never thought I would ever become a target of cyberbullying. I mean- for how many years have I been blogging and posting on social media now? All those years have been without incident.

So- this past week it happened to me- on Facebook.

I think it would have been over quicker if it had not been for the fact that I have been experiencing a really stressful week and was actually overjoyed at someone willing to receive some verbal abuse from me appearing out of nowhere to call me "Gramps" in a comment on Facebook and then follow it up with a whole bunch of negative remarks concerning my date-ability, my appearance, my opinions and so forth. This all came from a group of girls presumably all the way over there in the UK, oceans away from my home in South Africa.

So- did I turn the other cheek?

Hell no!

I don't remember how many there were, but I have vented at them all until they disappeared.

What I have learnt from it all was that the worst effect cyberbullying has on the recipient is that it is a huge waste of time. And that effect only occurs when you actually get into a conversation with these morons.

So- having learnt from my experience I have decided that the best technique a martial artist can use against a cyberbully is a BLOCK!

"You mean like this?" 

No. More like this...

Every social media app I know has this feature. You just need to search a bit, find it and be ready to activate it whenever you need it.

If you want to learn an offensive technique as well we could develop something like a Fuckyuzuki or Forum Kick (that already exists in online communities and forums), but it will be just as ineffective as the cyberbullying attack itself.

Here's the thing- if a cyberbullying attack actually WORKS on you, it is only because you let it. Cyberbullies, Trolls and anyone on this earth who insults you- be it the Army Sargeant, your boss, a parent or whoever the fuck else- HAS NO AUTHORITY to judge you in this life. They don't. Simple as that. Someone calls you ugly- that is his/ her opinion. Someone calls you stupid- as well.

Every person in this world, you me, the people we love, the people we hate- have a place here in this world. They all have the right to live and to pursue happiness. That will never change. Anyone who wants to spend time trying to hurt a person's feelings is actually wasting his time.

I know in the past there was a lot of people whom I never had the guts to tell them to go fuck themselves (yes- I do swear a lot at times), but I can assure you that those people had real power over my career, future and well-being. As soon as I became independent from them they also disappeared out of my life really quickly- depriving me the pleasure of telling them what I wanted to for so many years... :D

None of these people were teenaged cosplaying keyboard warriors, though...

Parents- if you notice that your child is actually suffering from this form of "bullying" it is the perfect opportunity to show them where a person's true value comes from and on what self esteem should actually be based- which is definitely some random stranger's opinion.

One can also of course leave any forum or community where people don't want to communicate with you in a decent manner...

History shows us that a lot of people had been able to survive for decades without social media anyway...

I guess this counts as my break from serious writing.

Next week's post is going to be about the pro's and cons of self study and joining a dojo.

Until then- stay well!    

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