Cyberbullying is a serious problem with potentially harmful consequences. But there are things you can do to deal with it. This article aims to educate about cyberbullying: how to spot it and prevent it. The article also states what measures you can take to protect yourself from cyberbullying.
What is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is the use of technology to repeatedly and deliberately harass, threaten, or embarrass someone. It is a form of bullying that can be more harmful because it can happen 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and reach a broad audience with just the click of a button.
What does Cyberbullying can include:
- Sending mean or threatening emails or text messages.
- Posting hurtful or derogatory comments.
- Imitating or impersonating someone online.
- Post sensitive or private information about someone.
- Manipulating images to make someone look bad.
Cyberbullying can happen to anyone at any age, but it’s a huge problem for kids and teens. They’re more likely to use social media and other online platforms where cyberbullying occurs. They’re also less likely to have the skills and experience to deal with it effectively. Girls are more likely to be cyberbullied than boys , but both sexes can be victims. While cyberbullying is a problem that affects not only kids but also adults.
Why do people cyberbully?
There are many reasons why people cyberbully:
- Some do it for fun or to feel powerful.
- Some do it to get attention.
- Some people bully because they’re angry, jealous, or have low self-esteem.
- Some people cyber bullied because they are victims themselves, and they think it’s a way to get back at the person who hurt them.
No matter the reason, it’s important to remember that cyberbullying is never okay.
How does cyberbullying affect people?
Cyberbullying can severely affect people.
- It can make the victim experience feelings of isolation, anxiety, depression, and even thoughts of suicide.
- The victims of cyberbullying may avoid socialising and making friends and go into a shell while always being anxious and fearful about the cyberbully.
- While researchers have well-documented the effects of cyberbullying on children and teenagers, they still lack insight into its impact on adults.
- However, a recent study found that cyberbullying in adults presents anxiety, depression, and insomnia symptoms.
- The sufferers may also have difficulty concentrating and stay home from work more often.
What are the effects of cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying can have serious repercussions  for both the victim and the bully.
- Victims of cyberbullying may experience sadness, loneliness, fear, anxiety, and depression and can even contemplate suicide in extreme cases. Besides, there can be outbursts of anger, as the victim feels helpless.
- Difficulty sleeping and incidences of bedwetting may also happen.
- At the same time, bullies may also suffer consequences due to their actions.
- They may get into trouble at school or with the law. They may have fewer friends. Also, their peers are less likely to accept them.
- If they are blocked, they may also face problems later in life, like difficulties getting a job or admission into college.
How can you prevent cyberbullying from happening to you or someone you know?
The best defence is a good offence—be aware of cyberbullying and how to recognise it. Here are ten tips to prevent cyberbullying:
- Educate yourself and others about what cyberbullying is and how to recognise it.
- Keep communication open with your children. Discuss cyberbullying and its effects, and let them know that they can come to you with any problems or concerns.
- Monitor your child’s online activity. Know what websites they are visiting and with whom they are communicating online.
- If someone is cyberbullying you, don’t respond to them. It can make the situation worse. Instead, save or take screenshots of the bullying messages and report them to a trusted adult.
- Be thoughtful about what you post online, and don’t say anything that can hurt or embarrass someone else.
- Encourage your child to be assertive, not aggressive. Teach them how to stand up for themselves without bullying or name-calling.
- Help your child to build strong relationships offline. A child who feels connected to others and has a strong support network is less likely to be targeted by cyberbullies.
- Teach your child how to be a good digital citizen. Show them how to use technology responsibly and respectfully, and encourage them to act as an upstander, not a bystander, when they see cyberbullying happening.
- Don’t participate in cyberbullying, even if you’re just joking around with friends.
- Report the bullying to the website or service where it’s happening.
The internet’s anonymity can make people feel like they can say or do anything without consequences. It can lead to people engaging in cyberbullying behaviour. With awareness and action, we can stop cyberbullying. Staying silent and not taking any action will only encourage the bully further. You must seek help to save yourself or someone you know from cyberbullying. Stand up for the cyberbullied person by sending them a supportive message and reassuring them that they are safe and you are there to help them. Talk to a trusted adult, like a parent or teacher, or contact a helpline for support, so that they can take stern actions and resolve the issue.
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- L. Magid, “Overall Increase in Cyberbullying – Girls 3 Times More Likely To Be Cyberbullied Than Boys – ConnectSafely,” ConnectSafely, Jul. 26, 2019. [Online]. Available: https://www.connectsafely.org/girls-three-times-more-likely-to-be-cyberbullied-than-boys/. [Accessed: Jul. 20, 2022]
- Cambridge Dictionary, “repercussion,” @CambridgeWords, Jul. 13, 2022. [Online]. Available: https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/repercussion. [Accessed: Jul. 20, 2022]