All About Cyberbullying
Digital communication and online profiles are an easy and fast way to share information with lots of people, but they can also be used to hurt people. What is cyberbullying? Threatening or embarrassing someone through technology is a type of bullying.
With many people carrying electronic devices, cyberbullying can occur at any time of the day, no matter where the bully or victim is- making it very difficult for a person to avoid once they have been targeted.
The ease at which information can be shared on the Internet, some types of cyberbullying can quickly be shared to reach a very wide audience, exacerbating The hurt and humiliation of victims. Once something has been posted online, removing it completely can sometimes be impossible, causing harm to the victim long after the actual act first happened.
Types of cyberbullying
Cyberbullying is invasive, cruel, and difficult to deal with. As cyberbullies often remain anonymous, tracing the source and stopping the cyberbullying can sometimes be extremely difficult. There are many types of cyberbullying, all of which can be carried out by text message or social media.
- creating a web page or a blog in which the creator assumes the identity of another person
- impersonating another person as the author of content or messages posted on the Internet
- Unwanted attention can turn into sexual harassment or stalking
- communicating material electronically to more than one individual or posting material on a website that may be assessed by one or more individuals
- Hurtful, intimidating, and threatening messages
- Personal or defamatory information about another person that can be posted or shared
- Embarrassing photos or hurtful posts could be posted or shared to humiliate a person
Recognizing the Signs of Cyberbullying:
Many of the signs are similar to those of regular bullying, but may be intensified by electronic devices.
- The way a teen uses their devices might change, such as suddenly not using them, being secretive when using them, or being online obsessively.
- A teens behaviour might change. They may become sad or withdrawn, lash out, or be reluctant to do things they usually enjoy.
- There may be unexplained physical symptoms, such as headaches, upset stomach, or decreased appetite.
- They refuse to talk about what they're doing online, or who they're talking to.
Cyberbullying is fairly common among children and teens, but there are ways to reduce the risks and limit it's impact.
Keeping passwords and personal information private is a good practice in general, as is being cautious over what a person posts online – both images and text. A person should also check their security options and privacy settings on any social media platforms.
If cyberbullying is affecting you or someone you know, there are things you can do:
- tell an adult you can trust
- Keep a journal of what the bullies do, including dates and descriptions, or screenshots as evidence
- Don't retaliate, bullies seek attention. They will lose interest if there's no response
- Contact service providers about bullying coming from within their network. Some have report buttons specifically dedicated to cyberbullying reports
- Block anyone who makes you feel uncomfortable
A person might be a cyberbully without even realizing it. While somebody may share a comment or picture as a joke or simply to get a lot of likes it, it's important that they consider their post carefully.
Look at all angles of a post to ensure it isn't personally offensive to any individual. Whether it's due to not thinking or actively being mean – and even if it's in response to another cyberbully- posting or sending victimizing comments or messages about other people, is cyberbullying.
Unfortunately there are many forms of online hate, including misogyny, racism and homophobia. There are many ways of showing that hate, such as body shaming and insulting people.
Much of this hate can find its way onto the internet and public websites. Whether the hate is explicitly worded or insinuated through it's exclusion of certain people, online hate is a worldwide problem that can easily filter into any individuals online browsing, and should always be reported to the appropriate service provider.
There is a thin line between cyberbullying and trolling. Cyber bowling repeatedly target a specific victim to intimidate them in someway, while the intent behind trolling is to provoke a reaction. Trolling is as ugly as its name suggests, and usually takes the form of offensive comments. While it may feel like a personal attack for the person or people that it affects, trolling is about annoying as many people as possible into responding and voicing their annoyance. The best way to deal with trolling, it is to deny it of the attention that it seeks.