Over the years, cyberbullying has become an undebatable serious issue especially amongst teenagers, that needs immediate attention from the government and society, alike. To your dismay, this issue has stemmed its roots now amongst adults as well, particularly at workplaces and institutions. Sounds creepy!
Cyberbullying is also referred to as cyberharassment, which is a form of bullying or harassing via electronic means. It is detrimental and equally baleful than any other form of bullying. This is simply a repeated act intended to hurt the victim mentally and physically from all aspects.
Moreover, it affects the victim in unimaginable ways. It results in lower self-esteem, personality disorders, increased suicidal ideation, and an array of mixed emotions; being depressed, fearful, low-spirited, conscious, guilty, frustrated, scared and so much more. You can definitely relate if you have been a victim too!
If you luckily haven’t, then have you ever empathized? Ever tried understanding the everyday struggle they go through? Ever tried to learn much about the waves of fear that spirals down their spine and the pre-jitters that are plastered in their souls as they are interact with public? No, certainly not! Living in your fantasy bubble won’t ever help you realize what victims go through, anyway.
Being an individual, luckily free from such experiences, if for some reason, you shed tears, victims shed blood! Yes, cyberbullying victims eventually become sensitive to almost everything. They are different and they need to be treated differently. They definitely did not “choose” to be this way.
It’s heart-wrenching how we “humans” tend to be so inhumane and fail to empathize. Sigh!
Harmful bullying behavior can include posting rumors, threats, sexual remarks, a victims’ personal information, or pejorative labels (i.e., hate speech)
Internet trolling is a common form of bullying over the Internet in an online community (such as in online gaming or social media) in order to elicit a reaction, disruption, or for someone’s own personal amusement. Whereas, cyberstalking is another and a way too grave form of bullying or harassment that uses electronic communications to stalk a victim; this may pose a credible threat to the victim.
So, what EXACTLY is Cyberbullying?
A few instances are as follows:
- A breach of privacy:A high-school junior secretly takes a cell phone photo of an overweight child while he was undressing. This was then sent to another friend, that ultimately turned out to be a MMS all over school – The child who had initiated the entire scene, refused to attend school with a heavy heart and unexplained reasons in most cases.
A clique of 8th Grade girls sleep over at a friend’s house, pretend to befriend a girl on Instant Messenger. They persuade her to divulge her inner most feelings, secrets and crushes. The next day a printout is distributed to everyone, and she is mortified.
- Unwanted and threatening postings:
A 14-year-old girl created a blog where she used to share all about herself and her lifestyle. Thereby, an anonymous person started posting threatening sexual comments with links to porn sites on her blog.
Still a Question? Then this is what Cyberbullying is..
Using emails, chat rooms, websites, cell phones and other means of electronic communication to:
- Send mean spirited messages
- Make cruel & harmful remarks about an individual
- Post unflattering or derogatory photos
- Make direct threats or encourage acts of violence
- Sexually harass
Cyberbullying is the repeated use of these technologies to harass, intimidate, bully or terrorize another person.
It gets incredibly awful when victims develop feelings of being rejected. With this fear inculcated in an individual’s mind and heart, they eventually fail to explain their sufferings to even their closest kin. Now this couldn’t get any worse!
Here’s what some victims had to say:
- 12 year old:
“Being bullied over the internet makes me feel real bad, and I often get depressed later at home. I would also plot revenge and privately express my hatred towards the bully.”
- 19 year old:
“Being bullied over the internet is worse. It torments and hurts. They say “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me”-I disagree! Because stones and sticks may cause nasty scars, which will heal. However, insulting words hurt and perhaps, take forever to heal.”
- 23 year old:
“I have lost faith in everyone, literally everyone. I see myself as a target for all. Every moment I live, every breath I take, is just a burden I feel I can never get rid of. I want this world to end so I can move to a better place in the Hereafter. While my heart sinks, my soul is already dead. I was always a loner, and now I feel secluded amongst friends and family, alike. I can never be the same now till some miracle happens! A series of unexpected, unforgettable instances have marred my life for years to come. Even today every time I talk to my Lord, I ask for justice – Words just can’t express alone.”
How extensive is Cyberbullying?
In a new survey by MindOh, nearly 80% said they have read or spread gossips online; more than half said they have seen websites that made fun of their peers.
Who are Cyberbullies?
- Individuals with:
- No strong relationship
- Who are immature
- Who have been involved with hate groups
- Who have been bullied themselves
This is what the offenders had to remark:
“Well, the only reason I tormented was because this is something had been done to me a week before. I know it was not the right time, but it gave me a sense of accomplishment”
“I knew her personally well, I saw her as an easy target. She is too naïve to approach anyone. It gave me pure satisfaction to see her sulk.”
Why do people bully?
- Peer pressure
- Someone you cannot approach directly
- Power Hungry
- To get laughs/reaction – Timepass!
Why the internet can foster Cyberbullying?
The advancement of technology has probed debates over its impacts in the last few years. Let’s not deny the fact, it has tremendously affected our society in both ways; good and bad.
In most cases, cyberbullies get away easily, especially in our societies as the victims are left with no tangible feedback.
The bullies’ motives are achieved and they are at peace, while creating unrest in the minds of the poor victims.
Also, who knows, it could be anyone who is simple exploiting you. Sense of being anonymous is what is at peak during such ruthless games, having no fair rules.
What dodges you as a victim are the multiple online personas that deceive you every time you pick out on a suspect. They are all so fake after all. These bullies are playing roles interchangeably. They know how mentally and emotionally strong you are, and how hard it is going to strike your head!
Technology has given a sense of power to all individuals, alike. They view internet as their lifeline.
Since most people aren’t being monitored while using the internet they choose to divulge in harmful and notorious acts.
However, there is a social stigma attached to narrating the incidents to adults.
Likewise, adults may be out of the loop, as they aren’t paying attention, even though, they are liable to check the files on the computer, periodically, and instill morals and values amidst their family and friends.
Here are a few tips for you. Don’t be a victim!
– Talk about bullying in general with friends, teachers and parents.
– Discuss the appropriate information with others-NEVER let anyone go personal!
– Visit some popular teen sites with your parents, friends & teachers be beware of what you see there.
– Learn to develop realistic perceptions about personal or impersonal relationships.
How to stop Cyberbullying?
Possibly the best escape:
- Be private- Keep pictures, passwords and your personal messages to yourself
- Take 5, don’t reply in anger
- Stop! Block! Tell!
- Save the evidence
- Investigate to no end
Wise steps to take?
- Determine if cyberbully is actually going on
- Save the evidence
- Identify the sender
- Contact the offender’s parents
- Contact your school
- If warranted, contact an attorney
- Threats, extortion, sexual harassment should be reported to the police
Consequences of Cyberbullying?
- Hesitant- withdrawal from social circles
- Self esteem
- Lack of concentration
- Truancy-unwilling to attend school
- Performance affected
- A sense of inevitable revenge-today or in future!
- Harsh Parenting
- Substance abuse
- Previous victimization
- Instill morals
- Take action
- Techniques for calming down
- Improve the family background
- Give attention
- Avoid sharing personal images & messages on public sites
- Counselling of the victim
- Revenge has NO END!
A piece for advice for victims:
“Trust No one!”
A definite need for the bullies out there!!
“Get a Life! Cyberbullying does not have fair rules, but Karma does.”
This article was originally published by Urooj Fatima