In the present day and age, the number of internet users has been increasing at an exponential rate, and the innumerable social networking sites have taken control of people’s social life. Today, the youngsters, especially teenagers are the largest group of internet users in the world. Most homes worldwide have unlimited internet access. The improved financial conditions of most families mean that there are multiple smartphone users in a single family.
Thanks to these increasing opportunities to access the internet, more and more youngsters are using the Internet 24/7. For most kids, the Internet isn’t just an excellent tool to research for study material or a fun thing to do after school. It’s a major portion of their social life.
Social media activity of teenagers occupies the lion’s share of their day. Messaging and talking with friends online and browsing the news feeds of their social media account are most regular online activities, after studies and gaming. In any case, in the same way as other social circumstances, there is a portion of the netizen population who harass others over the internet.
What is Cyberbullying
Cyberbullying is mental harassment that happens via electronic devices on the web. Electronic gadgets, for example, mobile phones, PCs, and tablets, communication devices including online networking platforms, instant messages, chat rooms, and sites are standard tools that are used to bully someone online.
Illustrations of cyberbullying incorporate mean instant messages or comments, hateful rumors and gossip tidbits sent by instant messenger, email or posts on social networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp and spreading humiliating pictures, recordings through slanderous activities done by fake profiles.
Cyberbullying is no longer an unfortunate incidence that happens to random people around. It has reached epidemic proportions in recent years. All across schools, colleges and universities, and even online schools, cyberbullying has become the most common cause of suicides among students.
Who Are the Perpetrators of Cyberbullying:
Cyberbullying is a different sort of harassing as it happens online and through instant messages sent to mobile phones. Cyber bullies can be schoolmates, online friends, and even strangers. However, most victims are intimidated by someone known to them.
How Does Cyberbullying Take Place:
Cyberbullies harass their victims in many ways. Some of the most common methods of cyberbullying are:
- Sending somebody mean, debilitating messages, texts, or instant messages.
- Barring someone from the friend list on Social Media sites or Instant Messenger lists or blacklisting their emails unnecessarily
- Deceiving somebody into disclosing sensitive or humiliating personal information and spreadingit among others.
- Hacking into someone’s email, social or chat profiles to send savage or untrue messages while impersonating that individual.
- Making sites to ridicule someone else, for example, a colleague or instructor.
- Creating websites or polls to rate peers as fattest, ugliest, and so on.
Both teenage boys and girls commonly perform cyberbullying. They have a tendency to do so in various ways. Youngters harass by sending messages of a sexual nature, making sexual advances or by giving physical harm or death threats. They also bully by spreading bits of gossip and by sending messages that ridicule somebody or block others from their groups. They also expose embarrassing secrets and oust others from their cliques.
How Does Cyberbullying Differ From Bullying:
Bullying has always been a longstanding issue prevalent in most schools and colleges all over the world. Almost everyone has been a victim of bullying at least once in their lives. Earlier, although the victims of bullying suffered inconsolably in their respective institutions, at least, they were safe in the confines of their homes. However, social media has encroached upon the insides of our homes, and there is no respite for the victims of cyberbullying.
Kids who are being cyberbullied are frequently harassed in personal life too. Also, kids who are cyberbullied have a harder time escaping their tormentor, because of the prevalence of their online presence in the victim’s social circles. Unlike conventional bullying, Cyberbullying can happen throughout the day, seven days a week, throughout the entire year. Even when the victim is alone, he/she can fall victim to the hateful bullying of his/her tormentor. Whether it is the day or the night, the victim is never safe from the bully.
Cyberbullying messages and pictures can be posted secretly and disseminated rapidly to many people over social media. It can be exceedingly difficult and sometimes impossible to follow the source, retrieve the content and prevent further spread. Erasing embarrassing messages and pictures after they have been posted or sent is beyond the scope of the victim in most cases.
Cyberbullying sends shockwaves incredibly fast. Children can send messages ridiculing somebody to their whole class or school with a couple of snaps, or post them on a site for the entire world to see. All of these can spread like wildfire in a matter of hours. Cyberbullies frequently take cover behind screen names and email addresses that don’t expose who they are. Not knowing who is in charge of tormenting messages can add to a casualty’s torment. Although it seems that cyberbullying can be prevented by just logging out of social media, it’s impossible for most children to consider even forsaking the biggest socializing hub of their lives.
The Effects of Cyberbullying:
Victims of cyberbullying encounter the same negative impacts as the victims of bullying. These adverse effects can be dropping grades, contributing to low self-confidence, disinterest in hobbies, depression, and suicidal tendencies. However, cyberbullying can leave deeper scars on the victim’s psyche than traditional bullying.
Cyberbullying happens in the home of the victim’s home. Being bullied at the most secured place, one’s home, completely destroys the victim’s sense of security. Cyberbullying can be more extreme than traditional bullying which takes place in person. Frequently kids say things online that they wouldn’t even say in front of the victim. This happens because when they can’t see the other person’s response, all humane consideration is ignored.
How Can Cyberbullying Be Prevented:
One of the greatest steps to prevent cyberbullying can be taken if more schools include provisions of punitive measures for cyberbullying activities that happen off-campus. They should include a clause to retain the right to discipline the tormentor for their off-campus bullying behavior that harms the well- being of another student of the school. They can also teach the students about cyberbullying to raise awareness. At the very least they can collaborate with the parents to develop a program to work against cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying is also one of the reasons why parent are switching to adopting home school programs instead of the conventional public school system for their kid’s education.
About the Author Atif Qazi is the owner of SchoolingSOS and an Engineer by profession. He is a former homeschooler who has teamed up with like-minded people to spread his knowledge of this topic. You can follow his topics on Twitter @Schooling_SOS