“Cyberbullies can hide behind a mask of anonymity online, and do not need direct physical access to their victims to do unimaginable harm.”
Not only has cyberbullying become a very common scenario today, it often successfully disguises itself under the pretext of jokes or trolls and what not. With everything getting digitalized, cyberbullying seems to have an even bigger impact on the internet.
Let us start by understanding what cyberbullying is all about.
It is not just limited to school bullies continuing their bullying on the internet, no. It is a much bigger issue. Every threat, every data breach and misuse of personal information like blackmailing, every unnecessary snide remark about an individual, or group, who do not deserve it, is basically a part of the huge web that cyberbullying is.
Many people who end up falling in this pit and becoming victims of cyberbullying, also end up going through more serious issues than one may think of. Especially among teens and younger children, who are not even aware of what harms can internet offer and has in store for them. It is unfortunate, and a very sad fact that in several cases of cyberbullying, victims go as far as attempting and even committing suicide because of the fact that cyberbullies can be extremely brutal and may not leave any stone unturned into making their victims miserable.
And as cruel cyberbullying can be, people do not talk about it much. At least not as much as it should be addressed and made people aware of. Social media is the biggest platform that these cyber bullies use to find new preys as well as torture the old ones. As fun as browsing through Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and other such platforms can be, people often end up ignoring, or worse, participating in cyberbullying activities with or without knowing it. Here are some ways you can avoid internet trolling. In some cases, it is trolling, using just words or even morphed images. They can also be threats, which are becoming pretty common these days as more and people are realizing that no actions at all, or at least no major actions are being taken, as others often take them as a joke.
There are many cyber bullies and illegal hackers, who hack into private information, like your address, or photographs, from your online accounts, even if the data is archived. This can lead to more than a few unpleasant scenarios, like blackmailing for money, blackmailing for some work, or even stalking. And there is obviously nothing scarier than your confidential data getting in the wrong hands.
Even though most of the places have laws stating how cyberbullying, among other cyber crimes, is illegal, but more often than not, the cyber bullies end up getting away with their deeds.
Moreover, there are now several games, like the blue whale, that trend among kids, and end up brainwashing them slowly, making them do things that people might not generally do, and ending with the player taking their own lives. This makes it one of the major cases of cyber harassment and bullying as many kids get influenced and do it for fun, to get over their curiosity, or even under peer pressure.
But these questions arise- How to stop cyberbullying? Or How to tell if someone is being cyberbullied? There are several steps that you can take to detect and prevent cyberbullying. Some of them are:
- Do not be a cyber bully yourself
Step one of ensuring that cyberbullying is destroyed is that you are not, and do not become a cyber bully yourself. As they say, change starts from you, make sure that you are not responsible or would not be responsible for anyone suffering from online hate or threats or any other kind of harassment. And remember, letting a crime happen in front of you makes you equally responsible for the crime as the criminal. So do not even encourage your friends to or let your friends be a cyber bully to someone. Taking this tiny step can actually ensure many people being saved from being a victim.
2. Check for signs of cyber bullying among your friends and family
Often cyber bullying victims tend to hide the fact that they are going through something as bad as this. So pay close attention to everyone you care about when you meet them, and look for signals of cyber bullying. These can be them getting withdrawn, spending the majority of the time on their devices, not being as indulgent as they were before, not showing a lot of happy emotions and several other things. And while these may not necessarily mean that they are definitely experiencing cyber bullying, but you would get to know what is bothering them, and you can try to help them with their problems anyway. Win-win!
3. Parents beware!
Parents often end up neglecting what is being gone on in front of their eyes and do not realize until it gets too late. Whether your child is being bullied or being a bully online, you may not be able to detect it, even if they are sitting in front of you. So what you can do as a parent is that you can pay close attention to their behaviour. You can also monitor their activity, if they are too young, or try out the parental control options, most devices have today. Moreover, you can talk to your kids about things like cyberbullying and make them understand why it is wrong, and how they should not be a bully and should talk to you if they are being bullied. This will give them more liberty to be able to talk to you if they are on either side of the spectrum.
4. Do not crack under pressure if you are a victim
If you find yourself being a cyberbullying victim, do not be scared, and alert someone instead. Whether it is your parents, friends or the authorities they will most likely help you out and stop the bullying before it gets too bad. Trust this thing, and inform someone about it before it gets out of hand. There is nothing too much embarrassing, and the only person who should be embarrassed should be the bully who thinks that it is okay to pester and harass people.
5. Be positive!
By the phrase “Be more positive”, we mean that create a more positive environment, especially on the internet, where it is too easy to bully people. Try saying nice things and make people aware of cyberbullying and how it can be so harmful. The more people understand, the more they will stay away from it. And take action if you find some extreme cyber bullies, so that such negative people are eliminated from social media, and let it be positive.
These are pretty small steps that can make a huge difference and stop the boon that cyberbullying ( and bullying in general is ). We hope that you take care of these steps as well, and give your contribution in making the virtual world a better place!