Cyberbullying is Real! And every day there are cases of cyberbullying happening around the world. It accesses through social media, messengers, gaming sites, and even mobile phones. Social Media platforms like Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, and TikTok are growing in numbers. Often cyberstalking leads to cyberbullying as teenagers are spending more time online and initially get addicted to these social media. Cyberbullying can happen at any time, to anyone, by known or anonymous sources.
What is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying also known as Online bullying, is a process of harassment through the use of technologies. It is a behavior of targeting the victim with hateful comments, embarrassing, threatening, and abusing on online platforms. Sending text, tweets, posts, and messages regarding the person’s photos and videos, without the victim’s consent. Bullies often target a particular group, gender, religion, and body shaming, making hateful comments and spreading defamatory information.
Online Bullying can be very brutal and upsetting because it’s usually very difficult to trace the bully. It becomes easier for the bully to commit such heinous crimes without understanding the severity of the consequences on the Victim. And therefore, bullies feel less remorse for their behavior and actions.
Types of Cyberbullying
- Threatening over call, text, posts, or tweets.
- Asking for sexual advances, circulating pictures or videos without consent.
- Extortion or demanding money or something else in return.
- Possible hate crimes attacking a person’s ethnicity, gender, religion, or sexual orientation.
- Stalking or harassment.
Aftermath of Cyberbullying
Cyberbullying can be upsetting and may have drastic long-lasting problems, not just for the victims, but also for the victim’s family and those who witness the process of cyberbullying. The victim may experience several emotional trauma that would ultimately affect their social and academic performance including their overall mental health.
Emotional Damage: The victim feels the humiliation of getting exposed, embarrassed, and ostracized. Often left in isolation as no one in friends wants to get tagged in this situation. They cut off from all social media and discontinue the use of computers and phones in order not to face any further wrath. They feel vulnerable and powerless as they often find it difficult to feel safe, for a victim cyberbullying follows everywhere.
They often show unpleasant behavioral changes as they lose interest in activities and display unpredictive moves. Under extreme cases, victims are likely to engage in drugs and alcohol and bring weapons to school.
Mental Instability: The victim of cyberbullying may surrender to anxiety, depression, and even suicidal thoughts. The level of stress keeps adding as the victim feels helpless to cope with the situation. They disconnect to interact and share feelings with family for the fear of getting humiliated and exposed. It erodes the confidence of self-worth and therefore left in isolation. A victim with low self-esteem became an easy target for the bullies as they feel intense dissatisfaction with who they are.
Academically victimized kids perform low as they lose interest in studying. There are chances of higher late of skipping school or college as they fear the number of texts or photo’s being circulated and therefore feel embarrassed to face people around them. Their grades suffer badly as they lose concentration to focus on their academic performance.
Failing to cope with the pressure and lack of help and support, they often choose to self-harm which increases the risk of suicide. The victim is constantly been targeted on social media, apps, messenger, and other platforms, to escape the humiliation the only way they see is to end their life.
Affects Physical Health: The constant fear of being crushed by bullies can harm physical health. Victims struggle with frequent nausea, fatigue, and vomiting. It can worsen health conditions like fluctuation of blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and brain damage. The eating and sleeping habit is often hampered due to stress, and the person faces an eating disorder and insomnia condition.
Step to Prevent Cyberbullying
Keep your privacy setting on high: Don’t share your password with anyone, safeguard your password and important files. Always keep your phone on high password protection so that your documents are safeguarded.
Block the Bully: Make the most of social media apps as it allows the option to block any unwanted text and hateful comments. You can also report such abusive comments to the server of the apps. Always save the evidence by taking screenshots of conversations, comments, or pictures, which will ease the work of local police.
Avoid Responding to bully: A lot of times bullies are looking for a reaction or response as it gives them power over you. Not giving any attention and ignoring their attacks make them try elsewhere to get it. They feed on the fear and negative response of the victim.
Think before you Post: Whatever is posted on social media apps can be easily stalked by the bully by some other means. The Internet is full of mysterious and unknown strangers, some pretending to be friends and some close family people. Your privacy is in your hands so be cautious about what has been posted or shared.
Report to authorities of any suspicious activity: A lot of times parents are not aware of the child’s being bullied. It’s important to notice the behavioral changes of the child, they require assistance and support to overcome their fear. Inform the local authorities of the cyberbullying and report them immediately.
Help to Stop Cyberbullying
Cyberbullying needs to be stopped at all levels, it’s important to educate yourself, and check reliable sources and facts to get more information about cyberbullying. At the same time, show your concern and educate about cyberbullying in schools, colleges, and even corporate offices. It will help the authorities to develop policies to prevent cyberbullying from happening. Below are the steps and guides that need to be followed to prevent it from happening. Here are some steps to stop cyberbullying.
- Get assistance from someone to help you report it to authorities.
- Don’t forward or share any text, posts, tweets, or pictures.
- Don’t take part in it.
- Leave the group or conversation which encourages wrongful activities.
- Say something kind or positive to the person being cyberbullied.
- If it’s safe, take a stand against it and ask the people bullying to stop.
- Let those bullies know that what they’re doing is NOT ok and needs to be STOPPED!
- Talk to the person being cyberbullied privately and ask if they’re ok and need any help.
- Speak up, fight for yourself, and make a difference, one bully at a time.
We need to keep working on how the Internet and technologies in wrongful hands can cause cyberbullying. We need to eradicate the negative impacts and overcome the fear of cyberbullying. Therefore, our resilience grows as we face the situation with full strength in fighting back and educating youths about how to deal with their bullies.