You must have come to the term “cyberbullying” frequently, at this point, or might yourself be a victim. If you don’t know what the hype is all about then Well, first let’s go to the basics of what bullying is. It’s when someone is harmed mentally as well as physically through acts by verbal or physical threats, remarks, personal information leaks, assaults, and violence. These acts cause harm to self-esteem, cause trauma, physical deformity, and worst suicidal and self-harm responses.
So what is cyberbullying?? With the recent growth of internet users, no wonder it’s a frequent term that everyone can face up to. So just think cyberbullying is bullying using the means of digital technology means. This can take place through messages, social media platforms, online gaming platforms, and other online platforms as well. Cyberbullying now is a very menace crime, as well as one of the easiest ways for culprits to attack victims easily. Accessing online platforms with the help of gadgets such as smartphones, tablets, laptops, pcs, and many more are quite common.
Victims usually range from youths, teenagers, people from lgbtq+ community, children, and even adults. The risk of increasing cyber crimes comes with increased screen time, caused by factors such as the global internet growth. The recent pandemic situation that affect millions of people to connect through means of technology affected adults, children, and people to operate administrative, educational, entertainment, and many other purposes. This obviously resulted in the world being more active on the internet.
Examples of cyberbullying
Have you ever wondered what if you were a victim and have been harassed?? Or you yourself have ever taken part in this cruel act?? Some things begin as a source of entertainment or the purpose of fun and self-benefit, but remember everything has its limit. If it makes you uncomfortable or someone seriously threatens you then you are being bullied. Some of the acts are :
1. Spreading ungrounded and false rumors and information with intentional as well as non-intentional purposes to harm one’s image
2. Threatening, blackmailing one with embarrassing, private, vulgar information, audio, or image again with the intention to harm one’s image
3. Stealing, stalking, and hacking one’s private information without permission.
4. Creating a fake id, or pretending to be someone else, without their acknowledgment for one’s benefit or again with the intention of disturbing one’s image.
5. Post hateful comments based on gender stereotypes, race stereotypes, ethnicities, religion, physical characteristics, personality traits, and disabilities.
These were a few examples of cyberbullying. Now, you might be familiar with at least one of them. If not personally, then at least must come across victims online. What are the effects of this crime and how are people getting affected online ?? Let’s dive into some of them
1. Personal image to have tampered with misleading rumors, fake information, embarrassing and sensitive images, videos and audios leak, and overall dreadful acts.
2. Heavily affects mental and emotional response. This is mostly due to stress, lack of self-esteem, negative threats, and remarks. This could drop to even serious effects such as self-harm, mental stress, anxiety, depression, irregular eating patterns, body distortion, lack of self-appreciation, and finally suicide.
3. Personal devices to be hacked for identity theft, financial theft, data sell and gains, blackmail, and personal issues. Victims have no security on their identity, location, financial operation, and almost every aspect.
4. Negative speculation based on gender, religion, politics, community, physical traits, appearance, opinions, and global topics. This leads to starting of online debates thus increasing bullying and increasing victims.
5. Lack of defense due to the bully’s identity is anonymous. With little resources and information on people’s identities on the internet due to fake accounts, simple steps such as blocking, and reporting couldn’t be much effective.
Steps against cyberbullying
Now that we have a few points and knowledge on cyberbullying, how can we stop it? That should be our next step. Cyberbullying can happen to anybody, anywhere any time. The internet can threaten our families, friends, close and loved ones easily. So let’s look closely at the prevention of this crime.
- Education and knowledge!! Share the article, and introduce people to cyberbullying and its effects. Differencing people about what is wrong and what is right, what are limits, and what is consent. This creates an introduction to those who are new to the topic and aware them of being bullied and bullying others.
2. communication and expression is the key to opening up conversations. Victims often don’t have the courage to open up about things they are going through. Bonding and social connection can help provide comfort, trust, and seek out to get help from their peers. So help others and ask for help.
3. DO NOT BE SCARED TO TAKE ACTION!! Luckily in this advanced world full of technology and digital services, there are hundreds of ways to collect evidence records, take screenshots, monitor your accounts and social media platforms, and report them online. If things get serious such as physical threats, blackmail, and more report it to the police.
4. Influence and impact cause emotional and mental responses in everyone. Especially children and teenagers, since they at very vulnerable to individuals, role models, celebrities, friends, and even random strangers they have never met before. Connecting to positivity and good influence, whilst gaining and giving motivation is always one of the greatest things to spread on the internet.
Here are a few statistics that have captured our attention on cyberbullying:
- Through the report by the CDC, Over 28.1% of LGBTQ teens were cyberbullied in 2019, compared to 14.1% of their heterosexual peers.
- The Data states that females are more likely to be the victims where the crime is much more prevalent in female adolescence.
- according to the study of L1ght(PDF), online toxicity and cyberbullying on social media sites and video conferencing apps increased by up to 70% (PDF) due to the pandemic.
- The Digital Citizenship report provides the data from the survey done of children of age 12-17, 9% of them admitted to identity fraud.
These were the few introductions to protect yourself from cyberbullying. As one of the responsible individuals on the internet, it is our duty to understand and stop such vicious crimes. Not only protecting ourselves, but we must also speak up for victims if we ever come to face such situations. Let’s learn to protect ourselves and others.
Not only ourselves but if you want to protect your device with the help of a VPN. Check out our article on it and the top five we’ve chosen for you.