“Keyboard Warriors” – ACM Safeguarding Lead, Chris East

12 May 2021

This post was written more than two years ago. The content or information below may no longer be accurate.

ACM’s Designated Safeguarding Lead

Keyboard Warrior – noun:

“A person who makes abusive or aggressive posts on the internet, typically one who conceals their true identity.”

Other names attributed are:

  • Internet tough guy 
  • Keyboard crusader 
  • Internet badass 
  • Troll

Internet trolling is defined as malicious online behaviour which seeks to provoke, upset and harm others via inflammatory messages and posts. Any targeted behaviour such as trolling is a form of Cyberbullying.

This is defined as any form of bullying which takes place online or through smartphones and tablets. Unfortunately, most young people will experience it or see it throughout their use of social media platforms. Cyberbullying can happen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and it can go viral very fast.

There are many ways of bullying someone online:

  • Harassment 
  • Denigration 
  • Flaming
  • Impersonation
  • Outing and Trickery 
  • Cyber Stalking 
  • Exclusion
  • Threatening behaviour

Anyone who makes threatening comments online could be committing a criminal offence. It’s against the law in the UK to cause alarm or distress via an online platform. Putting people in fear of violence is also classed as a criminal offence within the 1997 Harassment Act. 

If threats are made against you then it’s essential you make a complaint to the police. You will always require screenshots of the abusive content as this will be used as evidence within their investigation.

Whenever someone sends you a nasty comment It’s tempting to go back and have a look, it’s best not to as this is what the perpetrator wants. This form of abuse is known as flaming, where someone provokes the victim in engaging with offensive or malicious comments; unfortunately viewing or responding to this just makes the problem worse. 

Everyone who uses an online social media platform has what is known as a digital footprint. Unfortunately, even though you may delete content there are still ways in which it is saved either by the social media company or by someone who has taken a screenshot or cloned your content.

Myth Busting:

If you post abuse or send threats to anyone online, you can be traced by the police without any difficulty. Every time you visit a website or make a posting, your internet service provider, (Sky, BT, Virgin etc), has an electronic note of your activity. Even if you create an anonymous email address or disguise your name you can still be traced.

Billy TalentNothing to Lose

Teachers said it’s just a phase

When I grow up my children will probably do the same

Kids just love to tease

Who’d know it put me underground at seventeen

Being bullied can impact a person’s self-esteem, confidence and social skills. Bullying causes people to leave education, work and social groups as a necessity to escape its negative impact. However, being bullied online can affect someone enormously as it is very difficult to escape from something that is with you for the majority of the day. 

But why do people do it?

There have been many studies trying to answer this question, the most common outcome was that the perpetrator of bullying is the one with the real issue. Data reveals that the perpetrator has unfortunately experienced trauma themselves at some point in their life. 

We all handle trauma differently, some of us use positive behaviours, such as meditation, exercise and talking therapy – all designed to relieve the stress.

Others use negative behaviours such as bullying, violence and substance abuse, which temporarily mask the issues but usually make them worse in the long-term. Research reveals that some people simply just don’t know how to positively respond to stress and so default to bullying others as a coping mechanism.

They also find it hard to manage their behaviour alone and so will most commonly seek their peers to engage in harassing behaviour with them. 

Hunter Hayes – Invisible

Trust the one

Who’s been where you are wishing all it was 

Was sticks and stones

Those words cut deep but they don’t mean you’re all alone

And you’re not invisible

Think twice before you post anything online because once it’s out there you can’t take it back. It is easy for any comments or posts you make online to be taken out of context and these could be damaging to you in the long term. 

YouGov revealed in 2017 that 36% of UK employers rejected candidates based on their social media profiles.

According to a 2018 survey, 70% of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process, and about 43 percent of employers use social media to check on current employees.

A helpful acronym to remember when posting online:

T – is it true?

H – is it helpful?

I – is it inspiring?

N – is it necessary?

K – is it kind?

There is no such thing as an innocent bystander, Ignoring cyberbullying may feel like the easiest thing to do but the person who is being subjected to that bullying may need your help and support to get it stopped. The person being bullied may feel overwhelmed or powerless to do anything about it. Support them by raising this concern to either the police or the ACM safeguarding team.

If you are a victim of bullying please do not suffer in silence, there are many ways of getting help when you are a victim of cyberbullying. The safeguarding team are highly experienced in managing situations like this, please reach out by using the contact details below.

If you would like support with anything mentioned within this article please contact studentsupport@acm.ac.uk, alternatively, you can find out more information on our Student Services website or Canvas page.

If you have a concern for your wellbeing or that of someone else associated with ACM, please contact the safeguarding team:
Email – dsl@acm.ac.uk
Call – 01483 910197