What is Cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is bullying that occurs through the use of digital devices such as cell phones, computers, and tablets. Cyberbullying can take place via SMS, Text, and apps, as well as online in social media, forums, or gaming where people can view, participate in, or share content. Cyberbullying is defined as sending, posting, or sharing highly offensive, injurious, false, or cruel content about another person. It can include disclosing personal or private information about another person, which causes embarrassment or humiliation. Some forms of cyberbullying are illegal or criminal. Cyberbullying is bullying someone by using digital technologies.

Here are examples of cyberbullying

  • Sending hurtful texts or threats.
  • Pranking someone’s phone.
  • Hacking into someone’s gaming or social networking profile.
  • Being bad-mannered or unkind to someone in an online game.
  • Spreading secrets or rumors about people online.

Where can Cyberbullying take place?

The most common places where cyberbullying happens are:

  • Social Media, for example Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and Tik Tok
  • Text messaging and messaging apps on mobile or tablet
  • Instant messaging, direct messaging, and online chatting over the internet
  • Online forums, chat rooms, and message boards, such as Reddit
  • E-mail
  • Online gaming communities.

What are the effects of cyberbullying?

When bullying occurs online, it can feel as if you are being judged everywhere, including your own home. There may be no way out. The effects can be long-lasting and affect a person in a variety of ways:

  • Mentally — Victims of cyberbullying may experience anxiety, depression, and other stress-related situations. Targets of cyberbullying may react to their intense feelings by harming themselves in some way. Some people, for example, may engage in self-harm such as cutting or burning themselves.
  • Emotionally — Many victims of cyberbullying will become enraged as a result of what is happening to them. In fact, research shows that the most common reaction to cyberbullying is rage. Victims of cyberbullying frequently struggle to feel safe. They may feel helpless and vulnerable.
  • Physically — Cyberbullying has the potential to disrupt a person’s sleep patterns. They may have sleep problems such as insomnia, sleeping more than normal, or having nightmares. When children are cyberbullied, their eating patterns may change, such as missing meals or binge eating. Because they don’t feel in control of their lives.

The fear of being mocked or harassed by others can prevent people from speaking up or attempting to solve the problem. Cyberbullying can even lead to suicide in extreme circumstances.

Cyberbullying can have a variety of consequences for us. However, problems can be overcome, and people’s confidence and health can improve.

How can we Prevent CyberBullying?

While there is no permanent way to prevent someone from being cyberbullied, there are things we can do as a community to reduce cyberbullying.

Educate yourself: To prevent cyberbullying, we must first understand exactly what it is. Investigate how and where cyberbullying occurs, and discuss it with your friends.

Defend your password: Keep your password and other private information safe from curious peers. We don’t want bullies to have the chance to post false/private/embarrassing information or photos on our social media platforms.

Keep photos Parental Guidance: Before sharing a racy photo of ourselves to a peer or posting it online, consider if we want others, especially our family, to view it. Bullies might use this image as leverage to make their life miserable.

Pause before we post: Don’t post anything that could affect our reputation. People will form judgments about us depending on how we seem to them online.

Raise awareness: Raise awareness of cyberbullying through a program, a club, an event, or a campaign. Power comes from knowledge.

Set up privacy controls: Only allow trusted people to view your online profiles.

Never open messages from people you don’t know: Delete all messages from people we don’t know without reading them, as they may contain viruses and harm our machine. Messages from known bullies are treated similarly. It is advisable to avoid involving and ignoring them. 

Log out of your accounts on public computers: Don’t offer anyone the least opportunity to pretend like you or share false information, just like you shouldn’t share your passwords. Furthermore, by remaining logged in, you risk the bully changing your password and keeping you out for an extended length of time.

Report: Keep a record of what is going on and where it is happening. If possible, take screenshots of offensive posts or information. Bullying is a recurrent behavior, according to most laws and policies, therefore records help to document and report it. The majority of social media platforms and schools have well-defined regulations and reporting procedures. If a classmate is cyberbullying you, please notify the school. Report any potential criminal or unlawful activity to the police if a kid has received physical threats, or if a potential crime or illegal behavior is taking place.

Is there a punishment for cyberbullying?

Victims of abuse, including bullying and cyberbullying, have a right to justice and for the perpetrator to be held accountable. Bullying laws, particularly those about cyberbullying, are very new and do not yet exist everywhere. As a result, several countries use other relevant laws, such as harassment statutes, to penalize cyber bullies. Online action that willfully causes substantial emotional distress is considered an illegal activity in nations that have specific legislation on cyberbullying. Victims of cyberbullying in certain of these nations can seek protection, prohibit communication from a specific person, and temporarily or permanently restrict the use of electronic equipment used by that person for cyberbullying.

It is crucial to note, however, that punishment is not always the most effective strategy to change bullies’ conduct. It is generally preferable to concentrate on fixing the damage and restoring the connection.

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