The Internet is a defining factor of modern education. Everything today we are learning studying observing can be done through the internet, from using digital textbooks to getting a degree online.
What is cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying or cyberharassment is a form of bullying or harassment using electronic means, bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets. The Cyberbullying Research Center describes it as the “willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, cell phones, and other electronic devices.”. It’s the use of electronic communication to mirror the way a person would be bullied in real life, typically by sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature.
As technology has developed and the rise of social media has opened up an ever-growing number of ways for cyber-bullies to hurt their targets. Cyberbullying is when someone, typically a teenager, bullies or harasses others on the internet and in other digital spaces, particularly on social media sites.
Internet trolls intentionally try to provoke or offend others in order to elicit a reaction. This is typically for the troll’s amusement, or to achieve a specific result or because they are genuinely a combative person.
Cyberbullying can be as simple as continuing to send emails or text messages harassing someone who has said they want no further contact with the sender. It may also include public actions such as repeated threats, sexual remarks, hacking into or vandalizing sites about a person, and posting false statements as fact aimed a discrediting or humiliating a targeted person.
It can take place on social media sites such as Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter. One million children were harassed, threatened or subjected to other forms of cyberbullying on Facebook during the past year, while 90 per cent of social-media-using teens who have witnessed online cruelty say they have ignored mean behaviour on social media, and 35 per cent have done so frequently. Cyberbullying has become more common nowadays because of all the technology that children have access to.
If you notice a change in your child’s mood, don’t hesitate to reach out to their healthcare provider for evaluation and support.
Being targeted by cyberbullies is crushing especially if a lot of kids are participating in the bullying. Sometimes the stress of dealing with cyberbullying can cause kids to feel like the situation is more than they can handle.
Victims of cyberbullying often succumb to anxiety, depression and other stress-related conditions. Cyberbullying had the impact of amplifying symptoms of depression and post-traumatic stress disorder in young people who were inpatients at an adolescent psychiatric hospital.
When kids are cyberbullied, they often experience headaches, stomachaches or other physical ailments. The stress of bullying also can cause stress-related conditions like stomach ulcers and skin conditions.
Cyberbullying increases the risk of suicide. Kids that are constantly tormented by peers through text messages, instant messaging, social media, and other outlets, often begin to feel hopeless. They may even begin to feel like the only way to escape the pain is through suicide.
Gaming was a more common venue for men in which to experience harassment, whereas women’s harassment tended to occur more via social media. Most respondents considered gaming culture to be equally welcoming to both genders, though 44% thought it favoured men. Sexual harassment in gaming generally involves slurs directed towards women, sex-role stereotyping, and overaggressive language. In an internet-streamed fighting game competition, one female gamer forfeited a match after the coach of her team, Aris Bakhtanians, stated, “The sexual harassment is part of the culture. If you remove that from the fighting game community, it’s not the fighting game community.”
Law passed for protection from these harassments
There are laws that only address online harassment of children or focus on child predators, as well as laws that protect adult cyberstalking victims, or victims of any age. Currently, there are 45 cyberstalking (and related) laws on the books. California prohibits the use of an electronic device to cause someone to fear for their life. In Florida, the “Jeffrey Johnson Stand Up for All Students Act” prohibits any type of bullying including cyberbullying. In Missouri, anyone who violently threatens someone over social media can be convicted with a Class A misdemeanour.
Submitted by Tuba Tariq, Date 27 January 2021.