Let's face it - bullying can be pretty devastating.

When people are hurtful, even the strongest of people can be left feeling angry, depressed, and totally undermined. Especially when it comes to cyber-bullying.

The Internet may be one of the coolest inventions ever, but it's also full of avenues for cyber-bullies to anonymously provoke and relentlessly torment others.

Rude comments, personal attacks, flame mails, and hate mail are some of the ways cyber-bullies terrorise people online. Unlike bullying in real life, these methods won't leave you in physical pain, but they will be able to hurt you emotionally.

That's why you should know the best way to act in case you face cyber-bullies, whether you're the one being targeted or you know someone else who's under attack.

Here are a few tips:

Don't respond

The first step is to ignore the malicious person. Cyber-bullies love the attention they get, and the more you react the more they will return to bother you.

If someone's posting insulting or hateful things on your blog, use any of the tools at your disposal to delete, ban, or report them.

Don't try to initiate a meaningful or constructive dialogue with cyber-bullies, as the mere act of engaging them in a conversation will invite more activity from them.

It's a natural response to want to defend yourself and set things straight, but in this particular case it's best to disregard their hurtful comments and be unresponsive to them so that they will be bored and move on.

Know your opponent

Maybe you won't see the immediate practical uses, but it's always useful to know more about the problems you face.

In general, bullies thrive in the attention they get from bothering people. They have made it their specialty to test people's patience or to create conflict between people who would otherwise have no issues with each other.

That's why it's useless to argue with a cyber-bully: it's like trying to have a grown-up discussion with a 2-year-old child throwing a tantrum to get attention. They're not interested in your opinion, all they want is attention.

In other words, by knowing how they act and what their objectives are, you'll be in a better position to arm yourself.

Keep evidence

In most cases cyber-bullies will get bored if no one is reacting to them and will move on.

Sometimes, however, they will take things to a new level and continue being abusive, even if they're banned or blocked.

If things get out of hand and the bully doesn't go away, keep all abusive emails, comments, and messages in a folder - complete with dates and times - so that if you or the authorities find out the identity of the bully, you have proof of their shameful behaviour.

Of course it's very rare to find the identity of a cyber-bully, but you never know, it's happened before!

Get help

If you ever feel the cyber-bullying is getting way out of hand, you can - and should - get help from someone you trust (for example, a parent, teachers or even school counsellors!).

Think about it: even mature and experienced adults need help handling bullies!

On the Internet you never know who you're dealing with; it could be a disgruntled kid from your school trying to get you angry or it could be a deranged and/or dangerous individual.

In any case, better be safe than sorry!

As you can see, bullying incidents don't have to be worse than they are. There are many ways to deal with the problem before it gets out of hand or before your self-esteem takes a hit.