Cybersecurity

Stop Cyberbullying Day: Prevention is everyone’s responsibility

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Strategies for stopping and responding to cyberbullying require a concerted community-wide effort involving parents, educators, and the children themselves

Bullying of any kind can have a devastating impact on the well-being and lives of victims. Physical bullying, also known as face-to-face or face-to-face bullying, is still a problem in schools, with many researchers saying that long term consequences it can even be worse than the immediate impact – to the point where it can lead to changes in the behavior and personality of the victim.

With the rise of the internet, intimidation – like general communication – has also increased its capabilities. These days, it can be done from the comfort of one’s own home and the target may not even know the culprit. However, although methods and paths may change, the results are just as dire – in fact, they often are even worse than outright bullying.

Today is Stop Cyberbullying Day and we’ll look at the different forms of cyberbullying, the real-life effects of online abuse and harassment on victims, and why parents and guardians need to ensure that their children don’t become victims, and help promote a culture of mutual respect. for others online.

What is cyberbullying?

According to Merriam-Webster dictionary, cyberbullying means “electronic posting of malicious messages about an individual (such as a student), often anonymously.” However, cyberbullying can take many other forms, and as such involves using modern technology to harass, molest, and target others.

Victims receive dirty messages, texts, posts or comments on their phones/social media/PCs that humiliate them and make them feel bad. This abuse can occur almost around the clock, with the victim finding some relief from the aggressive, hateful, and spiteful behavior of his tormentor.

In short, every bit of online content is used to hurt someone. In addition, the forms of intimidation and their focus varied, targeting sexual orientation, appearance, age, race, ethnicity, religion, and so on. In many countries, cyberbullying is a crime and perpetrators can face several years in prison.

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Consequences of cyberbullying

Online bullying can be very damaging, especially since it is often anonymous and can have far-reaching effects, as hurtful messages posted online can be read by anyone. Cyberbullying can make the person feel like there is no way out, because their home and privacy can be invaded.

This has a tremendous effect on the victim’s psyche, as stress and general emotional state can affect their sleep patterns, moods and eating habits, as well as lead to anxiety and depression, which can manifest themselves. unwanted consequences. And given that children are commonly the targets of cyberbullying, society’s concerns are justified.

Offenders can also face consequences. In addition to imprisonment, a bully can face hard times at school, being fired from work, or possibly becoming a target himself.

Progress for everyone and everything – including bullying

Venues for cyberbullying have evolved over the years, and with the speed of technological innovation, this has allowed for different and varied spaces for cyberbullying.

The first case of proto-cyberbullying could be a hateful phone call, or text message, which developed into something similar via an online messaging platform. The first real case of cyberbullying that drew attention was in 2007 in the US, when Megan Mayera 13-year-old boy, committed suicide after his neighbor created a fake Myspace profile to harass him.

And that was a sign of things to come because before long, we were getting smartphones and a plethora of new social media websites and messaging services, creating more of an environment for such heinous acts. In 2010, Hope Sitwell, another 13 year old, killed himself because his girlfriend shared nude photos of him with students at six Florida high schools. In the internet age, privacy is a luxury, they say.

Due to the prevalence of people on social media sites like Instagram, Snapchat, Discord, Reddit, Twitter and Facebook, people are increasingly exposed to the threat of cyberbullying. And just as we move from mobile texts to online messaging, forms of bullying are also changing, with photos and videos being used to mistreat people, further eroding privacy and private safe spaces.

Tyler Clementian 18-year-old teenager from New Jersey, killed himself after his roommate used a webcam to film Clementi kissing another man, with the roommate urging his roommates and people on Twitter to watch his webcam.

And the list, alas, goes on and on. Indeed, a study from 2018 found that victims of cyberbullying are teenagers twice as likely to try suicide or self-harm than their unvictimized counterparts.

Anyone can be a victim – and it can take many forms

Remember when people were scared of strangers peeking into their house/room in the movies? So-called “stalkers” still exist, but so do other forms of stalking or stalking. Digital or online stalking has increased in recent yearsthanks to social media and people’s constant posting habits and lots of details from their lives.

According to a 2013 study, as many as 80% of youth who use social media share information such as their location, pictures, and contact information online. Unless they have a private profile and know all their connections, children can easily be tracked by anyone online.

Are you excited about your Spotify, Steam, and maybe PlayStation year-end highlights, so you post them on Discord servers with your username on the picture? If a bad actor sees it, they may start sending threatening or harassing messages or may even try to steal your account. Doxing is common online, and can have long-term consequences for your mental health and privacy.

Flaming is another online bullying method, in which trolls (provocateurs) or malicious users deliberately argue aggressively with the ultimate goal of hurting another person. On Reddit, for example, such people sometimes scour a user’s entire post history and try to undermine their point by belittling or attacking them because they posted on a particular subreddit.

Sexting (sending content of a sexual nature) is another form, with dangerous consequences for both parties, as it can be used as blackmail or to turn to child pornography.

Finally, hate attacks are another form of cyberbullying that can sometimes be difficult to track, because bots can do it. This is a situation where multiple users join a Discord server or follow a Twitch streamer, for example, then spam the chat with hate messages, preventing the streamer or user from having normal discussions.

Zero tolerance in school or online

As the development of laws targeting online harassment and bullying demonstrate, there is, and there should always be, zero tolerance for such behavior.

What can be done? Parents should be more supportive and understanding, and try to talk more with their children if they notice signs of discomfort or changes in their behavior. After that, they should try to gather as much evidence as possible, and report any incidents of cyberbullying to platform administrators, school admins (if necessary), and the police. In addition, consider professional medical assistance for people affected by cyberbullying, as it can have long-term mental effects.

If you are a parent, guardian, or educator, or you are a victim of cyberbullying yourself, consider reading the following articles:

This website offers advice and contacts for counseling services:

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