The internet age has created a dangerous problem that can ruin people's confidence, careers, and even lives; cyberbullying. Online cruelty and abuse is one of the darkest aspects of social media, with each platform offering internet trolls a blank canvas that they can use to destroy someone. As a public figure who has an online image and a recognizable personal brand, you are in constant danger of being cyberbullied. Knowing how to deal with this upsetting behavior if it is directed at you can be challenging. So, we reached out to Toronto model Julia Tychoniewicz who as a popular online personality has experience navigating life in the public eye, to get her insights on coping with cyber-bullying.
1. Don't ignore it
Julia Tychoniewicz shares that accepting cyberbullying as just being a part of your job might seem like the mature way to deal with it but she insists that abusive behavior should never be ignored. As soon as you receive any sort of hateful or offensive comment online, Julia insists that you should report it. She explains that social media platforms have a responsibility to protect their users, so don't be afraid to flag inappropriate content so that they can take action.
2. Take a breath
Cruel words can sting and your reaction to receiving such a blow might be to lash out and defend yourself, Julia Tychoniewicz advises against this. As a public figure you are constantly being watched, your every action both on and offline will be examined and analyzed, Julia recommends remembering this before you stoop to the level of a bully and hit back at them.
3. Don't respond
Julia Tychoniewicz explains that you should recognize bullying behavior and report it but you should never respond directly to a bully, publicly or privately. The moment you take the bait of an online bully, you enter their trap and give them exactly what they want. Once you recognize that a certain follower or commentator is targeting you, Julia insists that you must resist the urge to reach out to them.
4. Lead by example
Julia Tychoniewicz recommends keeping in mind those who admire and look up to you as a public figure when dealing with cyberbullying. If you take a bully's bait and launch into an online altercation with them you are encouraging others to do the same. Becoming defensive and lashing out at cyberbullies can give the impression that you don't believe in using the proper channels to combat bullying online.
5. Protect yourself
Julia Tychoniewicz stresses that as a public figure it is crucial to protect both your image and your self-worth, she advises taking every online precaution available to you to protect yourself from online bullying behavior. You can put simple measures in place like disabling comments or simply having a procedure where you review comments before they can be publicly posted.
Cyberbullying is upsetting, no matter how tough your skin is it will always affect you in some way, so Julia Tychoniewicz recommends having steps in place that you can take if it happens to you.