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Stop CyberBullying My Dog Online

It’s not just my dog: It’s your dog and it’s the millions and millions of dogs worldwide. There’s an epidemic and like fleas, unless it’s treated, it’s going to spread.

Cyberbullying has gone to the dogs. Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place using electronic technology. Cyberbulling is all one word, by the way: You don’t separate the means (cyber) from the abhorrent act (bullying): It’s all one click of the Enter button.

According to FederalCharges.com, “There are no federal laws at this time that address bullying or cyberbullying. But bullying does overlap with discriminatory harassment if it is based upon race, color, sex, age, religion or disability. In some cases, federal stalking charges can be brought against offenders.”

If you Google it, cyberbullying stories are rampant. People of all ages, races, denominations, and nationalities are cyberbullied on a daily basis. Just this week, 9-year-old Jackson Grubb hanged himself after repeatedly being bullied. Nine years old. It’s got to stop. We stop bullying by speaking out against it and doing something.

“Inciting an online hate campaign does not make you relevant.”

I love love love that sentence. Writer Hadley Freeman penned that in an article this summer. Bullies are weak and feel strength behind an electronic screen and a keyboard.

Stop cyberbulling dogs

Dogs Are Under Cyber Attack

We are vulnerable when we post something on an electronic playground. You click “post” or “publish” and wait for the likes, re-tweets, comments, re-pins, shares, and general kindness of strangers to light up your screen like a Christmas tree.  Often times, the ugliest and nastiest, meanest and most vile of creatures surface and shoo their fleas on your moment of sunshine. Trolls, yes, but even scarier, wolves in wolves clothing. A real person with a real name with a real profile with the name of a real town in which their cyber hate resides just told you what a complete *&^%$#&@# you are and that you are going to burn in hell for having a dog.  The dog is:

  • Too skinny
  • Too fat
  • Old and should be put down
  • A dog and as such, a nasty creature who should live outside

And so on. Trolls are so 2014. Owning your hate and claiming your spot in history’s trail of evil is a new norm for some. Some are now too many.

“You put yourself out there on social media, so don’t be surprised when someone comes at you, Carol,” a fellow blogger shared when I told her I was writing this blog post.

“There are behaviors of common human decency and that applies to the Internet,” I replied.

You can’t ignore vile comments when your career is in social media. You can’t ignore it when you spend time on social media in any capacity.

Dog meme

Common Human Decency

Be polite, be courteous, be civil, be thoughtful, be tactful, and behave. Simple, right? People are angry and dogs are a target. Bullies generally attack those whom they feel are weaker and/or inferior. Dogs can’t speak, so they are easy targets. This applies to pets in general. Bullies succeed when the behavior continues or escalates.

I don’t understand vandals and I don’t understand bullies, cyber or otherwise. As a blogger and social media enthusiast of many years, I do, however, have an understanding of how to handle cyberbullies when your dog is attacked online:

  • Ignore or block any communication with the bully. Each social media platform has its own system for blocking people. Do it.
  • File a complaint with the social media platform. Save screen shots, URLs, etc. to share with them.
  • Delete the comment.
  • If you are involved with social media or blogging online, my best advice is to not engage the haters. It’s easier to delete their comments and block them when possible. It’s up to you to decide what the line between visible comment versus banning the hate.
  • Remind yourself that your dog rocks. Cyberbullies are the equivalent of online vandals. Their goal is to tear you down and make you feel bad. They win when you feel like you lose.

Win

What Not To Do to CyberBullies

Don’t argue with a cyberbully. You cannot win. A cyberbully’s fuel is inciting a fire and fanning the flames to keep it going. The more comments made and the more hateful the conversation gets, the more the bully enjoys it.

Do not feed into the negativity. Cyberbullying negatively affects adults, too, and dogs we love.

Don’t perpetuate the behavior by saying mean and nasty things back. Is it any wonder that teens are engaging in online (and real life) hateful behavior? If adults are doing it, this becomes the norm.

There are also cyberbulling laws in place. Click for a brief review of cyberbulling laws and policies by state.

Don’t share their comments across social media. You feed the beast in doing this.

My heart beats dog® and love always trumps hate.

Question: Have you ever been affected by cyberbulling in any capacity?

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6 Comments

  1. Yes, I’ve had this happen. And like a fool, I tried to be reasonable…and then finally began to delete/block the person. Took me a while to figure out how to block, so the person’s spewing continued to be posted as fast as I deleted. NOW I know how to de-fang ’em, but thankfully, haven’t had many.

    It’s very disheartening, even hurtful when it happens. I try to remember that not everyone sees things from my perspective, and that the other person (maybe) has good cause for feeling that way. But congenial discourse is required to play in MY playground.

    Bravo for your post, Carol!

  2. I did have something a number of years ago, but more recently – in April, my senior Treeing Walker Coonhound, Suki, was quickly going downhill and my daughter and I finally had to make “the decision”. That morning I took a photo of Suki and posted it on Facebook, stating that it was Suki’s last photo (I did end up taking one of her in the examining room at the vet, but never posted that one). I had so many wonderfully supportive comments. So much outpouring of love and concern, for both Suki and me. Then, one of my FB friends (not someone I really knew, but when you’re involved in animal rescue, you get hundreds, and even thousands of friend requests from other animal people). posted a single word comment. “Murder”. I had lost my deaf hound girl, Ran, exactly one year before (she was diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, and even after nearly $3k in vet bills over 3-1/2 months, her condition worsened to the point we had to make “the” decision on her, and then lost our senior cat in February of this year. So, losing Suki, even knowing she was old and she’d had a long, wonderful life, was especially hard. That one comment almost sent me over the edge. I simply deleted the comment and unfriended the person. I’ve tried not to think about it, but looking back, it was one of the worst things anyone could have posted to me at that time. I hope they someday grow a heart, but until then, I won’t have to worry about their hateful words again. The hate in this world has escalated to the point where I don’t know if we can ever go back to a world of love and acceptance. I count on my furbabies, family, and true friends for that. Haters gonna hate. I choose to ignore them.

  3. Fortunately, my dogs don’t use the Internet so it doesn’t bother them ;p

    I find that people commenting on my blog are generally nice; most of them are looking for advice. It’s a little more problematic on my FB group where people sometimes do get into wars. They seem to do all that from conviction, though, not malacy (spelling?)

  4. This is so true. Some people find it fun attacking anything and anyone online. Even though it’s a sad and alarming trend, we just have to continue spreading love.

  5. I completely agree with what you said. My dog has received many comments before too. Usually I will just ignore the malicious comments. I have absolutely no idea what these people wishes to achieve.

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