The Internet can be extremely dangerous with so many unseen threats lurking behind the scenes. Awareness of how to be safe when surfing the web has become more than necessary in recent times to prevent devastating losses. Find in this article a guide to preventing cyberbullying, as it has become one of the leading threats among others that can pose a great danger to our daily use of the internet.
What is Cyberbullying?
According to Wikipedia “Cyber Bullying is the use of the Internet and related technologies to harm other people in a deliberate, repeated, and hostile manner.”
Contrary to popular belief, cyberbullying doesn’t just happen to kids. Bullies all over the web look for almost anyone to harass, as long as the bully has someone to pick on and an audience.
kids are bullied almost anywhere in the virtual world because most cyberbullying takes place on instant messaging. They are email, chat rooms, video games, blogs, and even over cell phones.
Cyberbullying does not just involve kids picking on other kids If it is being handled incorrectly or neglected, it can result from offensive jokes and gossip to cyberthreats.
What seems to be harmless at first can turn out to be much more so it is best to detect and prevent online bullying at its early stages.
Forms Of Cyberbullying
- Flaming – These are fights that take place online. It involves the exchange of electronic messages with vulgar and angry language.
- Harassment – This involves continuous sending of nasty, mean, insulting, and hurtful messages.
- Denigration – This involves defamation of the character of a person online. It includes dissing, sending, or posting rumors and gossips about someone to damage or spoil her reputation.
- Impersonation – This involves an attempt to be someone else or pretending to be someone else and sending or posting material to get that person in trouble or danger or to damage that person’s reputation or friendships.
- Outing – This occurs as a result of sharing someone’s secrets or embarrassing information or images to a lot of people online via the media.
- Trickery – This is an act of talking someone into revealing secrets or embarrassing information, then sharing it online to make a mockery of them.
- Exclusion – This is an Intentional act showcasing cruelty by excluding someone from an online group.
Effects Of Cyberbullying
The adverse effects of cyberbullying can be lasting and very devastating. This is because cyberbullying materials can be worldwide and not easy to retrieve. Victims feel a sense of helplessness especially in situations where the bullies are anonymous. Below are some effects of Cyber Bullying.
- Lack of self-confidence
- Stress and hurtful health effects
- Inconsistency in performance and attendance in school
- Depression and a sense of loneliness
- Suicidal thoughts
Prevention Of Cyberbullying
Thankfully, there are several practices we can put in place today to prevent cyberbullying from happening. Even though there’s no “one size fits all” solution, the following are the steps you can take:
1. Inform Someone
Ensure to tell a trusted adult about what’s going on. It is very bad to keep it to yourself. Remember, it’s not your fault!
2. Don’t Instigate
If someone sends you hurtful messages or posts mean pictures, they’re doing this to get your attention and also to get an emotional response from you. Do not pay attention to it. Don’t respond OR retaliate. If you respond, it will only encourage them to go further.
3. Block Them
Report and block them on all social media platforms that allow blocking the person. Doing this helps to reduce how they can reach you online. The majority of cyberbullying is done by someone we know. The people that are close to you, have access to your things, know your passwords. So keep your things safe. Remember to always log out on public computers and don’t get involved in cyberbullying yourself.
4. Be Aware
If you’re a parent, encourage your kid(s) to talk about what they’re doing online and whom they’re doing it with.
5. Legal Issues
Cyberbullying if handled lightly can quickly become a serious problem. There have been several cases where cyber bullying results in victims getting scared and even an attempt to commit suicide. There are specific actions that can make a bully break civil or criminal laws.
6. Civil Laws
In this case, a victim should take a step by trying to resolve the issue by seeing a bully’s parents or ask an attorney for advice on how to handle the situation.
- Defamation – This is when someone publishes a false statement about a person that damages or tarnishes his or her reputation or character
- Invasion of privacy/public disclosure of a private fact – This is when someone publicly reveals a private fact about someone on conditions that would be highly offensive to a reasonable person.
- Invasion of personal privacy/false light – This involves a public revelation of information that puts an individual in a false light.
- Intentional infliction of emotional distressing – People’s intentions and actions are outrageous and intolerable and have caused extreme distress.
7. Criminal Laws
When a bully is accused of breaking criminal laws, they can be subject to prosecution and even arrest.
Hate or bias crimes. This involves violent threats to people or their property.
- Engaging in coercion. forcing someone to do what they don’t want to do.
- Stalking, sending text messages, and making harassing telephone calls.
- Sexual exploitation and sending sexual images of children under 18.
- Exploiting photos of someone taken in a place where privacy is expected on the internet.
Teenage kids mostly seem to be the common targets for cyberbully. Where Online conflicts sometimes start in the real world and continue in the virtual world. Conveniently, bullying is perpetrated in the virtual world because cyberbullies are mostly, if not completely, anonymous. This gives the cyberbully the idea that their actions have no repercussions hence the gut to persist in their effort to bully their victims.
With increasing publicity such as one from this article, more and more people are becoming aware of the effects these activities have on their victims, the onus lies on us all as individuals, parents, guardians, and professionals to prevent and take actions against bullies to cub their activities from causing any more harm.