Home > Subjects > Psychology > What is Cyberbullying

What is Cyberbullying

Here’s Everything you Need to know about Cyberbullying

Introduction/Meaning:

As the world evolves day by day, so are bullying methods. Bullying was once limited to colleges, schools, and neighborhoods but has now crept into the digital world. Modern-day bullies harass prey by cyberbullying on social media and gaming platforms. The offender uses cellphones, laptops, computers, consoles, or any other device that can connect to an internet service to harass, abuse, or stalk someone on social media platforms. Different outlets, such as text, SMS, various apps, and forums, can be used to perpetrate cyberbullying. It involves disseminating, publishing, or distributing hurtful, nasty, intimate, or offensive content about another person that could put them in an embarrassing or humiliating situation.

What is Cyberbullying

In some cases, you can easily spot the person who is behind the shameful act, for instance, if your kid shows you a text, post, or comment that has hurt his feelings in one way or the other. But in some cases, the culprit becomes hard to spot. For example, someone made a fake account or screen name to insult or hurt an individual by posting personal pictures, sending hateful messages, or inappropriate texts.

Types of Cyber-bullying

The coronavirus pandemic has increased our reliance on smartphones, and people are spending more time online. Even in the modern age, we are unable to effectively address the problem of cybercrime. Seventy-five percent of students say they have experienced bullying at some point in their lives, and 44 percent say it has happened to them in the past thirty days. As the digital world evolves, cyberbullying will also evolve hand in hand. Without understanding cyberbullying properly and its types, we cannot secure ourselves and our young generation from its colossal damage. Let’s go through its types one by one:

Types of Cyberbullying

Cyberstalking: Refers to the use of the internet or other technological tools to track down or harass a specific person or a group of people. False charges, slander, and defamation are all forms of harassment. In this form of cyberbullying, the perpetrator monitors the victim and makes deliberate efforts to get in contact with the victim in real time. Identity theft, vandalism, doxing, and sex solicitation are possible motives for cyberstalking. The cybercriminal may receive a temporary restraining order from the court or perhaps jail time.

Frapping: This form of cyberbullying entails the offender accessing the victim’s social media accounts and starting to publish offensive content with the victim’s identity connected, harming the victim’s reputation.

Trickery: Deception is a component of trickery. To earn the victim’s trust, the abuser first establishes a friendship with him. Once the victim confides in the aggressor, the abuser will share any critical information publically or with a third party.

Exclusion: It is the act of leaving someone alone in a way that they feel left out. It frequently occurs when a victim of bullying is purposefully cut out of a group conversation with other people they know. It can cause harm to the psychology of the victim and make him feel depressed or isolated.

Harassment: It implicates sending continuous or persistent hurtful messages to the prey, which can involve threatening messages.

Trolling: Trolling does not always come under cyberbullying, but when done intentionally to hurt someone, it can be a means to promote cyberbullying. It involves the aggressor posting hurtful comments online regarding the victim with malicious intent.

Outing: It is also known as doxing. It mainly involves disclosing sensitive or personal information about the victim to the third party without their consent and is done solely to humiliate or embarrass the targeted individual.

Dissing: This pattern of cyberbullying involves the perpetrator distributing false information about the victim through public or private posts or messages. The criminal intends to ruin the reputation and relationship of the victim.

Flaming: It entails writing on social media about the victim or sending abusive, venomous, or insulting words directly to them. It is frequently done to start a fight with the victim online.

Masquerading: It includes generating fake profiles on social media sites where the offender conceals his own identity or impersonates the victim by breaking into his account to dupe him and damage his reputation.

Causes of Cyberbullying:

Nearly 15% of children experience cyberbullying through text messages, social media, or other technological channels, according to a 2017 report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. To protect our next generation from its damaging effects, it is therefore imperative that we solve this problem without delay. However, before we can handle the issue effectively, we must first comprehend the reasons behind these nefarious deeds.

The people who get cyberbullied themselves choose to cyberbully others as a way to express or cope with their pain rather than opting for other healthier means. They are known as “bully-victims,” and they prey on people who are weaker or more defenseless than they are.

Cyberbullying can be committed by those who feel superior to others, are envious of others, or decide for themselves who is deserving of what. Such people only blame the victims’ behaviors or personalities for the cause of cyberbullying.

Some individuals opt for cyberbullying because they are bored and have nothing to do. Such individuals crave attention and do such acts to fill their lives with excitement and digital drama.

Children will engage in the act of cyberbullying to blend in with their peers without considering the repercussions.

The internet gives you the power to bully without being face-to-face with the victim. Here there are fewer chances of the culprit being exposed.

Difference Between Bullying and Cyberbullying

People have been the victims of face-to-face bullying even in the past. It is continuously evolving and taking new shapes like cyberbullying, which is more destructive to the victim. Let’s see the significant differences between cyberbullying and face-to-face or traditional bullying:

In traditional bullying, the victim is aware of the intimidator and can defend himself. However, in cyberbullying, the teaser has the power to intimidate the victim through posts, comments, or threatening messages without fretting about being caught because they can hide behind false social media accounts.

According to a recent study conducted by the Pew Research Centre, almost 59 percent of teens in the US have experienced cyberbullying in their life. Sadly, cyberbullying cannot be restricted. As soon as the tyrant has access to the internet, he can harass the victim. Contrarily, traditional bullying only ensues when the victim and bully are in the same place.

It has become leisurely easy to share instances of cyberbullying online in today’s world of cutting-edge technologies and the internet. The audience started to get entertained and share the victims’ bullied posts in groups or on social media platforms, further disturbing the victim. The victim feels helpless or clueless regarding how to stop the whole fiasco. On the other hand, traditional bullying is done in front of small numbers of spectators and is limited.

In which Context does Cyber-bullying Occurs

Advancement in technology and internet access has made it possible for the aggressor to express their interpersonal aggression through posts, comments, and text messages. Teenagers choose to cyberbully others for a variety of reasons, the most significant of which are mentioned below:

  • Cyberbullies carry out this violent conduct solely to allay their fears.
  • They want to feed their egos by belittling and bullying the victim who is weaker than they are. It makes them feel superior to others.
  • Some hectors opt for cyberbullying others to gain popularity among their foes, feel in power, and escape their bubble of problems.

What is Cyberbullying in Social Media?/ What is Cyberbullying in Computer?

Cyberbullying occurrences are rising in direct proportion to the daily emergence of new social media platforms. As kids and teens hold smartphones close to their hearts, they unintentionally bring the bullies to their homes. According to a 2019 study, nearly 37 percent of American children are harassed or bullied on social media or the internet. Out of those very few, almost 10 percent of the victims have reported the issue to higher authorities. The vicious act of cyberbullying takes place on every social media platform that exists to date. But Facebook was one of the top social media sites where cyberbullying transpired the most in the past decade. Because social media sites like Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, and Twitter allow users to share photos, leave comments, and chat in groups, they have become hotspots for cyberbullying.

Is Meme a form of Cyberbullying

Not all memes fall under the category of cyberbullying. They used to be used responsibly only to make people laugh and de-stress. As soon as people started utilizing it erroneously, it propelled several problems in the community. A victim of meme-based cyberbullying may experience psychological issues such as depression, diminished self-esteem, and suicidal thoughts. The threshold separating an innocent joke and internet bullying is narrow.

Is Cyberbullying the same as the Hate Speech?

Before we say something about hate speech and cyberbullying, let’s first define what hate speech is? It can be characterized as a kind of expression used by a speaker to degrade, demonize, or instigate hatred toward an individual or group of individuals based on their skin color, sexual orientation, religion, race, gender, or other traits. On the other hand, cyberbullying includes poting threats, rumors, sexual remarks, revealing victims’ personal information, and hate speech.

However, the difference between cyberbullying and hate speech is not yet clear. The main reason why both of these cannot be distinguished clearly is that cyberbullying is continually evolving due to new tools for bashing people online. Cyberbullying becomes more complex when the victim not only experiences harassment but also verbal abuse through online remarks. We can say that hate speech is one of the principal forms of cyberbullying. One of the primary reasons why people compare cyberbullying with hate speech is that aggressors use hate speech to attack their victims.

Examples of Cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is a rising issue in the modern era. Either the kid are getting bullied or becoming tormentors who bully others. Both cases are causing harm to our youth. Let’s understand cyberbullying through some real-life examples.

  • Rayan Patrick Halligan’s suicide is one of the most glaring cases in the history of cyberbullying. A young American student kills himself after being verbally and online tormented by his classmates. According to evidence made public by the Associated Press, he frequently received homophobic remarks, taunts, and insults.
  • A thirteen-year-old American girl named Megan Tylor Meier committed suicide as a result of cyberbullying on the social media platform MySpace.
  • David Knight, from Ontario, was subjected to cyberbullying when someone created a website regarding him. The website was all about making fun of him and his family.The site was full of nasty comments about him being a pedophile and gay. However, David thankfully did not hurt himself.

And the list continues…

How do Cyberbullying Effects People

Cyberbullying does not only affect victims but also leaves an impact on the victim’s families. Studies reveal that over 32% of children who are the victims of cyberbullying exhibit at least one stress symptom. Cyberbullying occurs in the digital space the victims always feel overwhelmed and exposed. It gives rise to a feeling of humiliation in the victim. Furthermore, cyberbullying imparts a sense of isolation to the victim. As the aggressors corner the victim, he may feel lonely and depressed. Some of the victims got angry to the extent that they started planning for revenge to find solace and got trapped in the vicious bully-victim cycle.

As the perpetrators loved body-shaming victims, the victims became conscious of their appearances. As young people like to be accepted and praised by others, they start to hate their body features, which results in low self-esteem. One of the most serious consequences of cyberbullying is that the victim loses interest in their studies and their grades rapidly deteriorate. Their absentia rises as they do not want to face the bullies. Furthermore, victims usually self-harm themselves, such as by cutting or burning themselves, or even become suicidal and think that death can help them escape from existing pain and trauma. Cyberbullying affects physical health in addition to causing psychological problems. The victims develop gastrointestinal issues, eating disorders, and disturbed sleeping patterns.

How to handle Cyberbullying

No doubt, a cyberbully can choke you to death, but your mental and physical well-being is what matters the most. Remember that you can not stop people from saying bad things about you. All you can do is make peace with yourself. Here are some tips and techniques you can follow to avoid getting trapped by cyberbullies:

  • If someone says some nasty things about you, do not respond, as things will get even worse.
  • If someone says something offensive about you, don’t take it personally because the commenter is the one who needs to change.
  • Avoid reading disparaging comments again and again as it will ignite anger. Report the person, and he may get removed or banned.
  • You must take a break from technology and do something that soothes your soul, like having a dinner of your choice, a warm bath, or a cup of coffee.
  • Take action thoughtfully and with a mature mindset. Take screenshots as proof if you are the victim of cyberbullying because the perpetrator may subsequently remove the post or comment if he gets into trouble.
  • Secure your peace of mind by increasing your privacy online.

How to Prevent Cyberbullying

Although there is no infallible plan to protect you and your dependents from cyberbullying, there are a few steps you may take to minimize its impact:

  • Use passwords to protect your online accounts and mobile devices.
  •  Teach your kids not to share sensitive information with anyone, not even with their closest pals.
  • Do not share your private information, such as email, phone number, or home address, on social platforms.
  • Before posting anything, consider the possible outcomes.
  • Enlighten yourself and your kids with digital etiquette.
  • Last but not least, stand up for yourself, Report these cyberbullies to the competent authorities via the correct channels, and make an effort to utilize these social media sites responsibly.

References:

  • Slonje, R., Smith, P. K., & Frisén, A. (2013). The nature of cyberbullying, and strategies for prevention. Computers in human behavior, 29(1), 26-32.
  • Feinberg, T., & Robey, N. (2009). Cyberbullying. The education digest, 74(7), 26.
  • Slonje, R., & Smith, P. K. (2008). Cyberbullying: Another main type of bullying?. Scandinavian journal of psychology, 49(2), 147-154.
  • Menesini, E., Nocentini, A., & Camodeca, M. (2013). Morality, values, traditional bullying, and cyberbullying in adolescence. British Journal of Developmental Psychology, 31(1), 1-14.
  • Whittaker, E., & Kowalski, R. M. (2015). Cyberbullying via social media. Journal of school violence, 14(1), 11-29.
  • Cowie, H. (2013). Cyberbullying and its impact on young people’s emotional health and well-being. The psychiatrist, 37(5), 167-170.

Related Posts

Leave a Comment

9 − one =