Diplomatic missions are known for strictly toeing their political and administrative norms while organizing outreach events. In a rare deviation, the U.S. Embassy in Georgia hosted a virtual speaker session titled, Cyberbullying: Challenge of the Digital Era in association with this year’s International Day of the Girl Child. The rationale was evident: adolescent girls are particularly vulnerable to cyberbullying and are more likely to have experienced cyberbullying in their lifetimes. The menace of cyberbullying has become that prevalent.
What is cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is the use of the internet to harass, threaten or embarrass someone. Bullies typically do so by sending insulting or threatening texts and messages, spreading rumors about a person on their social media networks, such as Facebook, or controlling what they are able to do or say online.
The fact is that cyberbullying happens more often than we think, and some of the most severe cases lead to the loss of lives. However, we can take steps to prevent it from happening in our own life.
Cyberbullying has drastically increased in recent years, with the wide use of social media and the internet. With more children being on the internet and more adults, both male and female, being involved in cyberbullying cases, it’s essential to recognize this crime.
This article will explain cyberbullying, its prevalence, and who is most affected by this crime.
Who are cyberbullies?
Anyone who uses technology to hurt or harass others deliberately to due to their antisocial or sadistic tendencies can be called a cyber bully.
Cyberbullies can be anonymous or known to their victims. They may act alone or in groups. And they can strike anytime, anywhere there’s an internet connection.
Some common cyberbullying behaviors include:
- Sending mean or threatening emails, texts, or instant messages
- Posting hurtful comments on social networking sites
- Creating fake profiles or websites to embarrass or humiliate someone
- Spreading rumors or lies about someone online
- Posting sensitive personal information about someone without their permission
These are just some of the ways that cyberbullies can victimize others. And the effects of their actions can be devastating. Victims of cyberbullying often feel isolated, helpless, and exposed. They may suffer from anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem. In extreme cases, cyberbullying has even led to suicide.
The psychology of cyberbullying
Cyberbullying is a type of bullying that takes place online. It can occur through email, social media, text messages, or other online platforms. Cyberbullying can be very hurtful and cause emotional distress to the victim. It can also lead to physical health problems such as anxiety, depression, and sleep disorders.
Several psychological factors contribute to cyberbullying. One is the anonymity of the internet. This allows people to say things that they wouldn’t know in person. They may feel like they can’t get caught or that their actions won’t have consequences. This can result in people feeling more emboldened to engage in cyberbullying behavior.
Another factor is the lack of social cues online. In person, one can see how someone reacts to words and adjust accordingly. But online, it’s easy to misread someone’s tone or intent. This can lead to misunderstandings and conflict.
Finally, some people may cyber bully because they have a personal vendetta against the victim. They may be jealous of the victim’s success or popularity, or they may simply not like the victim for no apparent reason. Whatever the reason, this type of bully gets satisfaction from causing emotional pain to another person.
Top five reasons why cyberbullying must be stopped
There are many reasons why people engage in cyberbullying. Some do it for attention, others do it to feel powerful or in control, and some do it because they are angry or upset. Whatever the reason, cyberbullying is hurtful and can have serious consequences.
One reason why people engage in cyberbullying is for attention. They may feel invisible or unimportant in their day-to-day lives and turn to online platforms to get noticed. Unfortunately, this often backfires as the bullied person feels even more isolated and alone.
Another reason why people engage in cyberbullying is to feel powerful or in control. This is especially true of bullies who target people they perceive as weaker than themselves. By making their victim feel scared or helpless, the bully gets a temporary boost to their self-esteem.
Finally, some people engage in cyberbullying because they are angry or upset about something in their own lives. Rather than dealing with their problems, they take out their frustrations on someone else online. This is not only unfair to the victim, but it also doesn’t solve the underlying issues that the bully is facing.
Cyberbullying is a severe problem that affects millions of young people every year. Here are the top five reasons why cyberbullying is so harmful:
- It can be highly upsetting and distressing.
- It can lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental health problems.
- It can damage self-esteem and make individuals feel isolated and alone.
- It can interfere with schooling or work life.
- In extreme cases, it can even lead to loss of lives.
10 unforgettable cyberbullying cases
We can say for sure that a lot of cyberbullying cases go unreported. These are some of the most disturbing cyberbullying cases recorded by authorities.
Megan Meier (1992–2006)
Three weeks before turning 14, American teen Megan Taylor Meier committed suicide by hanging herself. Her parents demanded an investigation, and it was determined that MySpace’s social networking site was the source of her cyberbullying. This case was an early warning sign of the ill-effects of social media.
Phoebe Prince (1994–2010)
Following Phoebe Nora Mary Prince’s suicide on January 14, 2010, the Massachusetts state legislature passed more stringent anti-bullying legislation and charged six adolescents with crimes of violating civil rights.
Amanda Todd (1996–2012)
Amanda Michelle Todd, a 15-year-old Canadian student who had been the target of cyberbullying, hanged herself to death due to continuous bullying and blackmailing by internet users.
Rehtaeh Parsons (1995–2013)
Rehtaeh Parsons, 17, a former Cole Harbour District High School student, attempted suicide by hanging herself on April 4, 2013, at her house in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia, Canada. The reason, targeted online harassment.
Tyler Clementi (1991–2010)
On September 22, 2010, Tyler Clementi, an American student at Rutgers University-New Brunswick, died by suicide by jumping from the George Washington Bridge over the Hudson River. Clementi was subject to cyberbullying by his doom room friends Ravi and Wei, who planted a webcam into his room.
Jamey Rodemeyer (1997–2011)
Jamey Rodemeyer was a freshman at Williamsville North High School at the time of his passing and had previously attended Heim Middle School. He experienced terrible bullying as a result of being out about being gay.
Police discovered Choi Jin-Ri, better known as Sulli of the K-pop girl group f(x), dead in her Seongnam home, prompting a closer examination of her career as a singer and a feminist who was frequently the target of vicious Internet trolls and online cyberbullying.
Tyrone Unsworth (2003–2016)
In Brisbane, Australia, Tyrone Unsworth, an eighth-grader, committed suicide on November 22, 2016, as a result of years of homophobic abuse. On this particular day, his grandfather had intended for him to be at school, but he stayed at the farm instead. When his grandfather returned from work at around 1:00 p.m., he discovered Unsworth dead.
Hana Kimura (1997-2020)
One of six cast members of the Terrace House reality series on Netflix, which previously broadcast on FujiTV and showed an eccentric group of strangers living together, died at 22.
Kimura’s pink hair, toned form, and energetic temperament helped her become known as a public figure in Japan and attracted a lot of criticism. Her death raised awareness of cyberbullying and the pressures women face to conform to social expectations.
Kelly Fraser (1993-2019)
Kelly Fraser, a 26-year-old Canadian Inuk pop singer from Igloolik, Nunavut, was well-known for singing original songs and translating popular songs into Inuktitut. Fraser was discovered dead in her Winnipeg, Manitoba, home. Fraser’s family blamed “childhood traumas, racism, and continuous cyberbullying” for her death, which was later ruled a suicide.
How to stop cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is a pattern of online behavior that intends to harass, embarrass, intimidate, or cause emotional distress. It is a global problem affecting many people, especially young children and teens. Though putting an immediate stop won’t be possible, here are some anti-bullying steps to tackle cyberbullying.
Confront the person
Talking to the person involved in bullying is the first approach one can take. Often, cyberbullies are people who know their victims in real life. Talking to them can help them understand how their actions affect them and make them stop.
Ignore the bully
This can be hard, but it’s important to remember that anything the victim says to a bully will only make them continue to bully them. The best thing to do is ignore them and pretend they don’t exist.
Block the bully on social media
This will make it impossible for them to reach the victim and stop online bullying. The victims can also put filters on their social media channels to prevent the bullies from reaching them.
Tell a trusted adult about what’s going on
This could be a parent, teacher, or another adult that one can feel comfortable talking to. They can help children and teens deal with the situation and may be able to speak to the bully’s parents or school officials if necessary.
Seek professional help if necessary
Suppose the bullying affects one’s mental health or makes them want to hurt themselves. In that case, it’s essential to get professional help from a therapist or counselor who can assist in dealing with the situation.