We are all familiar with the term bullying.
We might have experienced it, know someone who is experiencing it or worse. We might be bullies ourselves.
In the past, bullying was something people experienced or faced at school but now it has been taken to a whole new level.
Cyberbullying can be defined as the use of digital devices to bully someone.
Cyber bullying can be done via social media apps, SMS or other forums online.
A study on cyber bullying reports that about 42 percent of young people are bullied via Instagram, 37 percent via Facebook, 31 percent for snapchat and on twitter 9 percent.
Adults can also be victims of cyber bullying.
Forms of cyber bullying
Some forms of cyber bullying include the following:
- Spreading of rumors via social media apps
- Exposing private info about a person
- Cyber stalking
To deliberately cause dissension or quarrels on social media public chat forums like Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp groups and more.
2. Exposing private info about a person:
It obviously means giving out private information about a person without their consent.
3. Cyber stalking:
The use of social media to constantly monitor a person and it’s often complemented with real world stalking.
This is when someone hijacks your Facebook account or other social media accounts and uploads defamatory contents on your page.
5. Spreading of rumors via social media apps:
The spreading of untrue and slanderous information about a person.
It involves the use inflammatory comments or pejoratives on a public forum to cause discord. It’s more like Trolling.
Effects of cyber bullying
Cyberbullying often has mental and physical consequences on the victim.
Victims of cyber bullying experience negative emotions like depression, anxiety, lack of self-esteem and more.
Most victims of cyber bullying usually suffer from depression and feelings of anxiety.
All this is due to the constant bullying the victim is subjected to.
Studies show that cyber bullying is a contributing factor in the rise of teen depression.
2. Lack of self-esteem or worth:
Cyber bullies use body shaming, racial and gender discrimination as a tool in making people feel unsatisfied with themselves.
This kind of feeling can lead to the victim developing self-destructive habit because the victim no longer feel she has worth.
For example, consider a girl who has being body shamed because she’s fat.
She could develop a self-destructive habit like not eating enough food.
And this can lead to anorexia (eating disorder) which is very deadly.
3. Harming of self:
Some victims of cyberbullying may result to self-harm as a coping mechanism to deal with their depression.
Some examples of self-harm includes cutting of one’s skin, self-mutilation, drug abuse and more.
4. Poor Academic Performance:
Kids who have been bullied on social media tend to avoid school or even skip classes.
Skipping of classes can lead to poor grades and in the worst case scenario, the child becomes a drop out.
5. Thoughts of suicide:
A friend of mine always says and I quote “Everyone has a breaking point”.
And I find this statement to be very true. When a person has endured bullying for a long time, he might start to entertain suicidal fantasies.
And if those thoughts are not curbed it could lead to suicide.
6. Damaged Reputation:
Spreading of rumors or slanderous contents can damage the reputation of a person.
This can cause the victim his job or even destroy relationships.
A lot of cyberbully victims are usually bullied by what they uploaded or sent to a supposed friend.
Consider this scenario. A girl has a boyfriend she sends nudes of herself to.
What if she breakups and up with him and he decides to upload her nudes as punishment.
Or maybe his friend stumbled on her nudes and upload it himself.
I think the scenario explains it all, don’t send your nudes to anyone.
The internet can almost store information indefinitely.
2. Don’t take pictures of your nudity:
I don’t know why some people do this.
They just love to snap themselves naked or video themselves bathing.
A girl in the university I attend videoed herself bathing. And without her consent the video was uploaded.
Imagine the embarrassment she faced.
3. Don’t tell anyone your passwords:
Make sure no one knows any of your passwords not even your friends.
You wouldn’t want cyber bullies to upload your private information on social media.
4. Ignore messages from an unknown sender:
Don’t read or reply messages from an unknown sender. Such messages could have virus in them that could compromise your data.
Also, it would be best to ignore messages that familiar bullies send.
5. Always sign out of your account:
Sign out of your accounts whenever you’re not using them.
This is very important because anyone can have access to your mobile phone or laptop without you being aware.
How to Deal with Cyber Bullies
1. Report and Block the Bully:
If you are constantly being bullied on a social media forum, it would be best to report the bully to the administrators of that social platform.
There is always a section to report on each social platform and also block the person.
2. Report to the Authorities:
When the bullying gets to the point where you’re receiving death threats and you feel you’re being stalked.
Report to the police, they’ll investigate the matter and track down the person bullying you.
Make sure you don’t delete the threat messages, they’ll serve as evidence.
3. Use other Social Accounts:
In the event that one of your social media account is compromised, make use of your other social accounts. Let your friends and contacts know.
4. Don’t deal with it alone:
If you’re experiencing cyber bullying, don’t deal with it alone.
Tell your close friends, relatives and the appropriate authorities what you’re going through.
Seek for support, it doesn’t make you weak. Talking about a problem to the right people helps.
Cyber bullying isn’t something that is new. It has destroyed the lives of a lot of people and it’s something shouldn’t be condoned. Observing netiquette’s really helps in the fight against cyber bullying.
It is my desire that this article helps people to deal with cyber bullies.