Defined as an aggressive behavior to abuse, threaten, harass and harm someone or damage their reputation, bullying is prevalent across the world, and its history dates back to the origin of human life on planet earth. People who bully others use force, abusive language or coercion to harm them or to injure their reputation.
But as we are becoming more technologically advanced with each passing day, the methods used for bullying someone are also changing. People are now taking advantages of advanced tools and techniques to harm, threaten, and abuse others.
What Is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is the modern version of bullying which involves the use of advanced devices such as computers and smartphones to send offensive messages and texts to abuse or threaten someone or to ruin their reputation.
People involved in the act of bullying either use messaging apps like WhatsApp, Telegram, WeChat, and Viber, etc., or social media platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and more, to send or share photos, posts, false information, and harmful messages to harm someone.
Sometimes, a person targetting someone shares their private information on social media to make them feel ashamed and humiliated, which disturbs them in a big way.
Different Forms Of Cyberbullying
Impersonation is one of the most common forms of cyberbullying where the bully indulges in the process of creating a fake profile in social networking sites or other web-based platforms in the victim’s name to tarnish their reputation. It’s a type of attack on a person where the bully tries to instigate other users to take action against the victim by ruining their reputation.
The bully shares personal information about the victim, which they wanted to hide from others.
Harassment is one of the most popular types of cyberbullying where the bully either sends a threatening message personally to the victim via a messaging app or other digital channels or they shares offensive information about them in a group.
The bully sends similar messages to the victim over and over again.
It’s an intentional attempt to threaten, abuse, or embarrass the victim to affect their confidence and self-respect. And if the bully gets the support of others, all of them end up targetting the victim by sending abusive and threatening messages.
In cyberstalking, the attacker attacks the victim by sending offensive messages, e-mails, or posting abusive messages and comments on a social networking site. In other words, the bully uses the internet to attack the victim or to destroy their reputation with an intention to humiliate them in front of others.
Outing is the practice of humiliating and embarrassing a person publicly by sharing their personal information with others against their wish. It affects the victim’s psychological well-being and makes it difficult for them to focus on other essential tasks.
Exclusion is the process of excluding a person from an online group, or a conversation to make them feel embarrassed. Once the victim leaves the group, the attackers then start humiliating them by sending abusive messages or content.
Apart from that, denigration and trickery are also common forms of cyberbullying, which affect a victim severely.
Crucial Facts And Figures About Cyberbullying
Over the years, various surveys have been carried out by reputed organizations on cyberbullying, and most of them indicate that people are increasingly becoming the victims of trolls, hateful messages, abusive comments, and false information. The incidents of cyberbullying revolve around teens and adolescents extensively.
Cyberbullying Stats Gathered From Different Sources
- Approximately 68% of teens admit that cyberbullying is a dangerous problem
- Nearly 70% of students accept that they see the cases of cyberbullying frequently
- Only 1 out of 10 victims inform a person they trust (parents or friends) about their experience
- Over 1 in 3 adolescents have received cyberthreats online
- More than 25% of young people (teens and adolescents) have experienced repeated incidents of cyberbullying
- 36.7% of females admit that they have been the victim of cyberbullying
64% of students who were the victims of cyberbullying claimed that it affected them negatively
Signs That Indicate A Person Is A Victim Of Cyberbullying
- Hiding passwords and account information even from family members because they don’t want their loved ones to know about what they are going through
- Experiencing extreme anger and frustration after being online
- Spending time alone in locked up rooms
- Avoiding family functions and social events
- Getting nervous all the time, and hiding its reason from family and friends
- Bunking classes and avoiding friends
- Difficulty concentrating on any work
- Lying to parents, friends, and teachers
- Poor academic performance such as declining grades
Impact Of Cyberbullying On Victims
Since the victims know that the content, photos, comments, and false information shared by the culprit about them are accessible to a large number of people including their friends, family, and relatives, it disturbs them to a great extent. It has severe consequences for their emotional stability and psychological well-being.
Teens and adolescents find it extremely difficult to focus on their studies due to cyberbullying, which affects their grades. And declining grades increase their difficulties even more because their parents start accusing them of their poor performance.
Sometimes when the victim receives a dangerous threat, it disturbs them tremendously which leads to psychological distress such as stress, anxiety, and depression. And problems like anxiety and depression start affecting the quality of their life. They find it utterly difficult to enjoy a normal life.
Some of the victims start relying on drugs and alcohol to find an escape from their unpleasant feelings and disturbing emotions. Since the consumption of alcohol or drugs makes them feel happy temporarily, they start taking it frequently, which makes them vulnerable to alcohol or drug addiction.
And they start lying to their parents, siblings, and friends to arrange money for drugs and alcohol. In worst case scenarios, victims of cyberbullying end up committing suicides.
The impact of cyberbullying isn’t only limited to the victims, but it also affects their families and friends.
Here Is How To Reduce The Incidents Of Cyberbullying And Protect The Victims
- Every parent should encourage their child to avoid indulging in the act of cyberbullying, explaining that it can have grave consequences for the victim
- Give strict warning to your child if you find them sending abusive messages to their friends
- Monitor the online activities of your child, and encourage them to limit their screen time
- Encourage your child to share their experience with you if someone bullies them online
- Explain it to them that it’s not their fault if someone is abusing them or sending them threatening messages
- Encourage your child to report the cyberbullying incidents to an adult whenever they see someone else experiencing it
- Ask them not to share their crucial information online until it’s vital
Tell your child not to use digital devices to share secret information with their friends, if they want to hide it from others
- Ask them to save abusive messages, comments, posts, and emails as proof
If you find your child disturbed, but they are not sharing anything about it to you, then talk to their friends about it
- Support your child if they are the victim of cyberbullying
Encourage them to stop talking to those who keep on abusing them whenever they get a chance
Cyberbullying is a serious problem which can affect a person’s mental health, sleep, academic performance, confidence, and self-esteem, so it must be dealt with effectively. It can prevent a person from living a normal life, and carrying out activities that others enjoy. It can affect the academic carrier of a child, thereby making it difficult for them to get their dream job.
Therefore, it’s the collective responsibility of the people associated with the victim to protect them, and encourage them not to be affected by abusive and threatening messages. Everyone from parents and teachers to friends and siblings of the victim should contribute towards it.