Technology, internet, and the cyber world has thrown bullying to a different dimension unparalleled by any past experience. There is a wide array of gadgets and media through which children now relate with each other. There is social media, online games, websites, internet groups and clubs that make communication easier. They share text messages, media files and other social message formats amongst themselves.
Many modern day kids are more internet savvy than their parents so much so that some parents have no clue about the online activities of their children. In essence, many parents are not aware that bullying can occur in the cyber world.
But it can and it does…
What is Cyberbullying?
Most of us know bullying as it occurs in the physical world. But with the explosion in the information technology, bullying has become a part of the cyber world as well.
Cyber bullying involves intimidation, threats, embarrassment that is deliberately expressed with the intention to harm others by using some form of electronic medium.
Cyberbullying can occur as an isolated incidence, or it occurs persistently over time and noticeably among teenagers and younger children.
Cyberbullies go as far as impersonating and creating fake accounts to lure and bully their victims. Thus, the victim may not know the real identity of their bully.
Where does cyber bullying occur?
Cyberbullying can take place on any of these mediums
- Social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Whatsapp.
- Text messages via mobile devices.
- Online clubs or groups like the gaming clubs
What makes cyberbullying so challenging?
Cyberbullying occurs in an even more subtle form than physical bullying. Therefore, it is more difficult to notice or monitor. The world of technology is a vast one and it takes a very observant parent to observe the subtle signs of cyberbullying in their child.
One of the biggest and most damaging challenges of cyber bullying is that the information shared through the internet is public and far reaching. Anybody can access it anytime, from anywhere. The effect and implications of cyberbullying is more far reaching and can be quite damaging.
Cyberbullying can go on persistently over long periods of time due to the nature of the technological medium and the internet. Electronic devices and the internet make it easy for cyberbullying to be instant, persistent and incessant.
Cyberbullying is more frequent and easier because digital devices are easily available and accessible.
The effects of cyberbullying are also longstanding as the information displayed over the internet can last forever, even once the perpetrator has erased the content.
Effects of Cyberbullying
Cyberbullying can have adverse effects on both the bullied and the bully. The consequences can be more harmful than physical bullying.
- Cyberbullying can result in psychological trauma and emotional damage including anxiety, depression, fear, and anger.
- It can result in low self-esteem and lack of confidence.
- In extreme cases, cyberbullying can result in suicidal thoughts and even suicide.
- Victims of cyberbullying tend to become isolated from friends and society.
- Cyberbullying can harm the reputation of the victim both online and offline.
It is quite difficult to monitor and tame cyberbullying due to its nature. Though there are laws against cyberbullying, due to the degree of evidence necessary to enforce punishment, the victim offer undergoes considerable torture before allegations of abuse can be substantiated, if its ever substantiated.
Parents and teachers can however look out for subtle signs in their children. Some of these signs include
- emotional irregulation
- lower grades
- change in eating and sleeping habits
- fear of using the electronic gadgets
Cyberbullying is hard to address but there is help. If your child needs assistance handling a cyberbully, please contact us at 844 MY TECH TALK.