How to Fight Cyberbullying?
Bullying has been an issue for as long as social interaction has been around, as others feel that they have the right to harm others physically and emotionally. As the internet has grown and developed, a new form of bullying has arisen, using online platforms to berate, harm and negatively impact others within an online environment. This is known as cyberbullying and it is an extremely big issue today.
So what is cyberbullying and how is it defined? The basic cyberbullying definition refers to the use of electronic communication for purposes of threatening, intimidating or harming others. This is typically done through cyberbullying texts that are sent across social media platforms or by sharing personal information, images or videos in public spaces. The impact of cyberbullying has been disastrous with many who have been bullied in this way even committing suicide. It is imperative that this form of bullying be stopped.
What Are The Types of Cyberbullying?
When looking at cyberbullying facts and statistics you will notice that there are many different forms of this harmful practice. The types of cyberbullying may range, but the consequences are very similar and often result in the reputation of an individual being tarnished. The following are just a few of the different types of cyberbullying to be aware of.
Tormenting a person online through the sending of hateful comments is a form of harassment online and it is unfortunately very common, particularly amongst younger generations. This form of cyberbullying occurs in many different ways, ranging from reporting social media accounts that have done nothing wrong, getting their account frozen, to maliciously posting hateful and inappropriate content about a person. Online harassment can be done both publicly on social media pages or through direct messaging, however, no matter what kind of harassment is done it is psychologically scarring and has led to the deaths of thousands all over the world.
Impersonating someone online is a form of cyberbullying and it is unfortunately done often. This is when a person will impersonate someone else and act as them online. There are many different ways that this can be done, though the most common is when another person hacks into someone's account and changes information or posts as they change their profile. Once the person has stolen the target's information, like passwords, they may post inappropriate things online, ruining the reputation of the person whose profile has been hacked.
As password protection has become more advanced, another way for people to impersonate others has developed and that is the creation of a fake account using the information on the target's real account. Using their name, their pictures and other personal information, the hacker will pretend to be them and post fake and inappropriate slews on this account.
One of the most common occurrences when it comes to impersonating is catfishing, which is when a person is lured into a relationship online that is based on fake or stolen information. The pictures, names and other personal information are stolen as they get involved in a relationship with an unsuspecting victim. This is such a common occurrence that there is a popular reality TV series about when this happens!
Sharing inappropriate photographs of a person is another form of cyberbullying. Whether these images are shared publicly or through text messages, this form of photo sharing is incredibly harmful. How a person may get the actual image differs, whether it has been shared by the victim or even taken unknowingly. One of the worst examples of cyberbullying is when perpetrators threaten the victim with the images, asking them for favors or even money in return for not sending out the image. Once the images have been shared, there is almost no chance of the victim being able to recover them as they are sent from person to person maliciously.
As the internet has grown and it has become easier for websites and blogs to be created, cyberbullying tactics have ventured to use this new technology in malicious ways. A perpetrator may create a blog or a website that is solely based on posting malicious content about one or more people. This form of website creation is a growing type of cyberbullying, with links to these different blogs and websites being spread through schools and targeting certain people. A perpetrator may even go as far as to post the victim's personal information online which will lead to further harassment.
Uploading videos that contain embarrassing images of an individual is known as video shaming and it is a form of cyberbullying. Either the perpetrator gets hold of an embarrassing video or records it themselves and then he/she will upload it online to embarrass and/or shame the victim. Another form of video shaming is known as cyber baiting and it refers to when a perpetrator fashions an incident and records it with the intent of sharing the video later. These kinds of videos are always shared maliciously and can leave behind huge psychological damages that often stay with the victim for years.
What are The Effects of Cyberbullying On People?
The effects and consequences of cyberbullying are detrimental, with victims being maliciously shamed, targeted and hurt by what is shared. While normal bullying is also a huge problem, the issue with cyberbullying specifically is that when something is released on the internet, very often, it cannot be removed. This form of bullying may stay with someone for their entire lives, and this is often enough to make people consider taking their own life instead of living with shame. This is particularly true when it comes to inappropriate videos and photographs being released online as this can even impact future employment opportunities. The dangers of cyberbullying online should never be overlooked, and it is something that all people should be aware of.
How To Prevent Cyberbullying?
While we may not be able to stop cyberbullying there are preventative measures that one can put in place to help avoid this harmful practice from occurring. Not only is this important for you yourself to note but it is also imperative that these measures be explained to children from a young age. The following are just a few things that you can do to prevent cyberbullying from occurring.
Protect Accounts and Devices
As social media platforms have developed and become more popular, they have also created ways that users are able to better protect themselves and maintain their privacy. One of the best ways that social media users can protect themselves is by using passwords. By creating passwords that are hard to hack and by not sharing them with anyone, you can help to better protect yourself from being subjected to cyberbullying, and it is important that children know not to share their passwords, even with their friends.
Maintain Some Privacy
While it may seem like a good and safe idea to post everything on social media, it is important to maintain some semblance of privacy, both for yourself and your children. Personal information for example should never be spread and shared online. With things like contact numbers, email addresses and home addresses, it is always best to avoid having this information publicly available as you are potentially setting yourself up to be a victim of cyberbullying.
Practice Thinking Before Posting
Sometimes we make hasty comments or posts online without really thinking about the consequences of making certain information public. It is always best to think about what you are posting before it is actually posted as this can help to ensure that you are not releasing anything you may regret or that could lead to instances of cyberbullying. Many social media platforms have adapted their posting algorithms so that people can schedule posts instead of immediately releasing the content. This allows you to give a little bit more thought about what you are posting and gives you time to remove or change information that may be harmful.
Perform a Social Media Audit
A social media audit is not as professional or as hard as it sounds and it is just a quick review every few months of the content that you put out on social media. Having a look back at what you posted or shared online can help you to determine whether you yourself have shared anything malicious or whether or not you have released content that could be used against you in a malicious way.
It is important to do these quick checks as regularly as possible to ensure that you are aware of what is going on on your social media pages. These checks will also inform you if any strange activity is happening on your accounts, like if something you did not share or create is on your social media page. Along with doing this for yourself, it is important that you regularly check the activity of your child's accounts. This is to both ensure that they are not perpetrators or victims of cyberbullying. By gathering Information on cyberbullying and using social media audits to check whether these types of bullying are occuring, you can help to better protect yourself and your children from the effects of this horrific act.