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Cyberbullying: Be Aware

Cyberbullying is defined as “an aggressive, purposeful act or behavior carried out by a group or an individual, utilizing electronic means of communication, repeatedly and over time against a victim who can not readily defend himself or herself.” Many definitions exist, including the National Crime Prevention Council’s more precise definition: “the process of utilizing the Internet, mobile phones, or other devices to email or publish text or photos designed to harm or disgrace another person.”

Cyberbullying is frequently comparable to conventional bullying, with a few noteworthy differences. Because of the online nature of the relationship, victims of cyberbullying may not know the identity of their abuser or why the bully is targeting them. Harassment can have far-reaching consequences for the victim, since the content used to harass the victim is easily distributed and shared among many individuals, and it frequently stays accessible long after the initial occurrence.

Although the words “cyberharassment” and “cyberbullying” are frequently used interchangeably, some individuals use the latter to explicitly refer to harassment among children or in a school context.

In Social Media

Cyberbullying may occur on social networking platforms like Facebook, Myspace, and Twitter. “By 2008, 93 percent of young people aged 12 to 17 had access to the internet. In fact, aside from sleeping, adolescents spend more time with the media than with any other activity. ” Cyberbullying has increased over the previous decade, which is defined as bullying that happens via the use of electronic communication technologies such as e-mail, instant messaging, social media, online gaming, or digital messages or photos delivered to a cellular phone.

Cyberbullying is one of the most serious hazards associated with social networking platforms. During the previous year, one million children were harassed, threatened, or subjected to other forms of cyberbullying on Facebook, while 90 percent of social-media-using teens who have witnessed online cruelty say they have ignored mean behavior on social media, and 35 percent have done so frequently. Ninety-five percent of social-media-using teenagers who have observed cruel conduct on social networking sites claim they have witnessed others ignoring harsh behavior, and 55 percent have seen this regularly. Terms such as “Facebook depression” have been coined to describe the effects of excessive social media use, with cyberbullying playing a significant role.

According to a Pew Research survey conducted in 2013, eight out of ten teenagers who use social media now disclose more information about themselves than they did previously. This contains their geographic location, pictures, and contact information. [34] Personal information such as age, birthday, school/church, phone number, and so on must be kept secret in order to safeguard children.

According to two studies published in 2014, women send 80 percent of body-shaming tweets and 50 percent of sexist tweets.

In video games

Harassment may occur in gaming culture, including online gaming.

In a Pew Research poll, 16 percent of those who reported having experienced online harassment said the most recent incident occurred in an online game. According to a study conducted by National Sun Yat-sen University, children who played violent video games were considerably more likely to both experience and commit cyberbullying.

Another study that looked at the direct relationship between violent video games and cyberbullying looked at personal factors like “duration of playing online games, alcohol consumption in the last 3 months, parents drunk in the last 3 months, anger, hostility, ADHD, and a sense of belonging” as potential contributing factors to cyberbullying.

The majority of respondents felt the gaming culture was equally hospitable to all genders, while 44 percent thought it favored males. Slurs directed at women, sex role stereotyping, and overaggressive language are all examples of sexual harassment in gaming. In The Guardian, Keza MacDonald claims that misogyny occurs in gaming culture but is not widespread. During his speech in recognition of Women’s History Month, US President Barack Obama made a reference to the harassment of female gamers.

Women have been less welcome in competitive gaming than in general gaming culture. One female gamer forfeited a battle in an internet-streamed fighting game competition when her team’s coach, Aris Bakhtanians, remarked, “Sexual harassment is ingrained in the culture. If something is removed from the fighting game community, it is no longer the fighting game community. ” Comments in support of sexual harassment were “drowned out by a vociferous majority of individuals expressing anger, disappointment, and sorrow,” according to gamers. The event galvanized support for steps to combat sexual harassment in gaming.

Some game creators have been harassed and threatened with death by gamers who are angry about modifications to a game or a developer’s online rules. Harassment also happens in response to critics such as Jack Thompson and Anita Sarkeesian, whom some fans perceive as a danger to the medium. Several people have been harassed in connection with the Gamergate scandal. Harassment driven by gaming is not markedly different in severity or tone from online harassment inspired by other subcultures or advocacy causes.

Cyberbullying's Negative Effects

Online, kids and teenagers may attack each other in a number of ways. These tactics might range from teasing or threatening someone via email or text message to breaking into a victim’s social media account in order to embarrass them. Some incidents have been so bad that cyberbullies have constructed false social media profiles in order to impersonate their victim, publishing humiliating material and destroying their reputation.

Males are equally as prone as females to bully people online when it comes to cyberbullying. Sexting, which is the exchange of sexually oriented messages and photographs, may be harmful to the victim since bullies generally expose the private conversations and photos for all to see, eventually humiliating the victim. Another approach, such as cyber threatening, usually consists of angry communications detailing bodily damage to the target and the disclosure of personal secrets. Because victims are isolated from social groups owing to falsehoods and implausible stories, these tactics leave individuals with emotional, mental, and even bodily scars.

Because of the online nature of the discussions, youngsters and teenagers may occasionally flip positions throughout the vicious online cycle of bully and victim. A victim may feel the urge for vengeance and engage in online actions that smear the bully’s identity, and vice versa. This trade can carry on indefinitely, reducing the self-worth and confidence of all people involved.

 

 

Stay Safe

 

Cyberbullying may take many forms, including humiliating or cruel online posts or digital photographs, online threats, harassment, and negative remarks, and stalking via emails, websites, social media platforms, and text messages.

Cyberbullying affects people of all ages, but teens and young adults are the most prevalent victims. Cyberbullying is a rising problem in schools, and it has become a problem since the internet is somewhat anonymous, which bullies find alluring because their intimidation is difficult to trace. Unfortunately, rumors, threats, and pictures may spread fast on the internet.

These suggestions will assist you in protecting your children from cyberbullying:

 

Limit where your children post personal information: Be mindful of who has access to contact information or data about your children’s hobbies, habits, or work in order to minimize their exposure to unknown bullies. Limiting the information about them that is available online may reduce their chances of being a victim and make it simpler to identify the bully if they are harmed.

 

Avoid escalating the situation: retaliating with anger is likely to elicit a bully’s ire. Consider disregarding the problem depending on the circumstances. Bullies frequently feed on the reactions of their victims. If you or your child is receiving unsolicited email messages, you might consider changing your email address. The issue may be resolved. If you continue to get messages at the new account, you may have a solid legal case.

Keep a record of any online activity, noting pertinent dates and hours. Each document should include an electronic version as well as a printed copy.

 

Report cyberbullying to the relevant authorities: If you are a victim of cyberbullying or if your kid is being bullied or threatened online, notify the appropriate authorities. A excellent place to start is your local police agency or an FBI branch. There is a difference to be made between free speech and criminal crimes. Law enforcement and prosecutors can assist in sorting out legal ramifications. It may also be acceptable to report it to school authorities, who may have distinct rules in place for dealing with student-involved conduct.

Tips to Stay Safe on Social Media

Facebook

Facebook has taken a hard line against cyberbullying. When bullying is discovered, it is taken from the site, and the offender account is deleted and disabled. By placing report links near the content of your feed, Facebook makes it simple to report bullying. This link is generally displayed as a drop-down video next to a post, image, comment, or video. You may also ban accounts and information with which you do not wish to interact. Users may make their profiles private and even limit who their friends and friends of friends can view what they publish. To decrease the risk of cyberbullying, any information uploaded on this social network can be restricted. More information on how to report cyberbullying may be found here.

 

 

Twitter

If you are being harassed on Twitter, you may unfollow them by clicking on their name and selecting the “unfollow” option. If that individual continues to bully you, you have the option of blocking them. They will no longer be able to view your tweets, and when they try to contact you, their messages will be lost. If, despite your best attempts to restrict their messages, the bully manages to get through to you by creating a new account, you may report them directly to Twitter here.

 

 

Youtube

YouTube is much like any other social media outlet. It’s just as simple to be bullied and harassed on this platform as it is on any other. If you believe a video promotes others to bully someone, you may flag it by clicking on the little flag in the bottom right corner of the video. YouTube will investigate the video to see if it violated its terms of service policy. If the video is found to be in violation of a policy, it will be deleted. According to YouTube’s policies, users are not permitted to submit videos containing graphic violence, nudity, or hate material. If you’re a YouTuber and you’re being bullied or being bullied in the comments area of a video, you may report it here, and YouTube will look into it.

 

 

Instagram

Instagram users, like those who use other social media sites, are vulnerable to cyberbullying. On this site, bullying might take the shape of false accounts, nasty remarks, or a hacked personal account. Instagram’s policies against bullying and harassment are quite stringent. Initially, they advise you to unfollow and block the bully. However, much as on Twitter, you may report the individual here if they continue to bug you. This is a highly thorough website that covers a wide range of concerns that you may directly report to Instagram’s employees.

 

 

Snapchat

Snapchat is a social networking software that allows users to exchange photos and messages that expire after a certain period of time. On Snapchat, cyberbullying often expresses itself in the form of someone distributing stolen personal photographs without the owner’s permission, nasty remarks, and sending sexually suggestive images. If you want to ban someone on Snapchat, you must first touch on the menu button and then pick “my friends.” Your friends list should appear, from which you may choose the individual you want to block. When you swipe right on their name, a “Delete” option will emerge. Remember that even if you haven’t added that person as a friend, their name will still display on your friends list under “Recent” if they’ve sent you messages or photographs. If you want to report the problem directly to Snapchat’s employees, you may do so here.

 

 

WhatsApp

WhatsApp is a messaging software that allows you to send instant messages, pictures, videos, and brief voice messages to individuals or groups. All participants must have a smartphone with the WhatsApp app installed in order to utilize it. Bullying on this app may take several forms, including sending abusive messages in the form of text, video, and audio recordings. You can even be bullied by a large number of individuals in a group chat. Fortunately, you can block and remove as many individuals as you choose. If you want to contact WhatsApp’s support team, send an email to support@whatsapp.com.

Tips for General Security

Privacy

Never publish your address, school, phone number, or any other sort of identifying information on any social networking platform. You don’t want outsiders to be able to locate you in real life. Keep your friends’ information secure as well.

 

 

Take caution with what you post

Always be cautious about what you share. Posting anything humiliating about yourself online may come back to bother you later in life, such as when you’re applying to colleges or interviewing for jobs. Professional groups now routinely look through potential applicants’ social media accounts to assess what kind of person they are. Don’t give them a cause to pass judgment or reject you. Remember this essential rule: don’t publish anything you wouldn’t want your mother to see. When you upload an image or remark, that material can be copied and reposted hundreds of times, and you will lose the ability to erase it permanently.

 

 

Sending images

If someone asks you to take photographs of yourself, consider whether your mother would approve of those photos. If they aren’t, don’t send them. If a stranger contacts you online and demands that you provide them photographs, it should raise an alarm. Cut all relations with that individual right now. If you are under the age of 18, inform an adult and report them to the appropriate authorities.

 

 

Public Areas

Always remember to log out after you’re finished using a public computer at a school or library. What’s to stop the next person who sits down at that computer from looking at your profile if you don’t?

 

 

Location Preferences

You may share your geographical position on several social networking networks, including Facebook and Twitter. This may be a fun tool to use, especially if you’re on vacation with your family and want to show off the locations you went that day. Please keep in mind, though, that total strangers may see your post (for example, a friend may share the post, or your profile may be set to public display) and find where you’re staying. If the social networking site you use offers local services, locate them and disable them as a precaution.

 

 

Inappropriate Behavior

Bullying on the internet is linked with improper behavior. If you are a child or adolescent and someone begins to act in an unsettling manner, call a teacher, a parent, or any other trustworthy adult. Know that if you’re being bullied, there’s a strong possibility the bully is also targeting other people. Reporting that individual may prevent someone else from being bullied. It is critical that if anybody invites you to meet up in person, you reject, especially if they advise doing so in secret.

 

 

Be wary of strangers making friend requests

It is fairly unusual for people to send friend requests to total strangers in order to increase their friend list and look more popular. There’s nothing wrong with meeting new people, but keep in mind that no matter how pleasant someone appears to be, they’re still a stranger. It’s a red signal if they try to get your personal information, such as your phone number, address, school, or credit card information. If you are being followed and harassed online for your personal information, you should notify your parents, who should contact the police. Make sure you don’t delete any of your correspondence with the stranger. The authorities may be able to utilize your communications to establish whether or not that individual has committed any criminal acts.

 

Some Words Always Remember

You want your online experience as a kid, adolescent, or young adult to be as secure as possible. Always keep in mind that your personal security should always be your first priority. Unfortunately, cyberbullying is likely to persist indefinitely. If you are a victim of cyberbullying and feel powerless, remember that you have the ability to stop the abuse. You should be able to solve any tough problem that may emerge throughout your online experience if you follow the advice in this book. Of course, if the bullying persists despite your best efforts, notify a parent, teacher, or appropriate authority as soon as possible. Stay safe by always being mindful of who you’re talking to.

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