Before technology, students are often dealing with school bullies. But, with the development of technology, more problems have occurred. We all have heard about the term ‘Cyberbullying’. Whether you have experienced it or have become a watcher, we all know what it is about. In the early ages of technology, people are more concerned with hacking and viruses but now it has twisted. Online harassments can come in many different variations. Starting from racism to trolling. It is a problem we have encountered since the early days of internet, yet the more people use the internet, the more people that gets involved to this type of crime. Many teens are now connected to the internet, as a teenager myself I can say that my life without the internet is dull and hard. Now a days, we all communicate through social media. Teenagers may often be unkind to one another; every little detail may be twisted into a topic to bully.
To be more specific, cyberbullying has been happening everywhere in the internet. What is cyberbullying, you may ask. Cyberbullying is using superior strength to intimidate someone that takes place over the internet. This type of bullying could happen over the phone, text, social media, etc. and cyberbullying includes spreading false information such as rumors or hoax’s, spreading hateful comments or content about someone else, spreading private information about someone else to the internet to cause embarrassment and humiliation. Cyberbullying could be about people’s race, gender, physical appearance, religion and much more.
An example of cyberbullying would be when you look at an Instagram post of a celebrity and you see a hate comment on it. That is already a form od cyberbullying. For instance, you go search up your favorite celebrity’s Instagram. Admiring how good the post is, so you go ahead and comment on it. But out of curiosity, you want to scroll up the comments section. Seeing that there are hundreds of thousands of comments but some of them catches your eyes. That comment being a hate comment towards your fav celebrity. You don’t know what to do, you can either be a watcher. You only see the comment and do nothing about it. Or, you could be someone who stands up for them. Being able to stand up for them would take a lot of courage since there is a huge probability that the cyberbully would most likely fight you.
“Why would someone be a cyberbully? There are probably as many reasons as there are bullies themselves. Sometimes, what seems like online harassment may be accidental. The impersonal nature of text messages, posts, and other ways of communicating online means it can be hard to figure out if someone is joking or not. Most people know when they're being bullied, though, because bullying involves repeated insults or threats. The people doing the bullying know they've crossed a line, too. It's not a one-off joke or insult — it's constant harassment and threats that go beyond typical fun teasing or a nasty comment made in anger.” (Ben-Joseph, www.kidshealth.org)
According to an anonymous (2015), there are two kinds of people who are cyber bullies, the very social person (or AKA, extroverts) or the inactive people (being the introverts). Extrovert who bullies people will want to look powerful, they like to be in control and making people do whatever he or she wants the victim to do. They would mostly do this to maintain or gain popularity. Introverts could cyber bully people to prove that they are not weak, once again to gain power. They could also do it because of how envy they feel towards the victim. If you scroll through a celebrity’s social media, you will see thousands of hate comments. That is an example of cyber bully. The exact reason of why people do cyber bullying isn’t known, there could be many different reasons as to why people decide to do it.
Until the mid-2000s, cyberbullying wasn’t treated as a crime. Ever since then, the rates of cyberbullying have increased by a lot. Based on a data posted by broadbandsearch.net, people are mostly cyberbullied by 42% in the app Instagram. Next to Instagram, lays Facebook with 37%. Then, Snapchat with 31%. In 2019, these are three applications where cyberbullying mostly takes place in. The statistics of cyberbullying has doubled of what was back in 2007. Overall, 34% of people have become a victim of cyberbullying. 95% in the U.S. alone are online, meaning that they are more exposed and have a much bigger probability of getting hated on online.
Cyberbullying can cause so much trouble to the victim, mentally and physically. Reports have collected a data saying that 64% of the victims becomes unfocused and have trouble adjusting in school. They are more likely to have mental health problems cause by the cyberbullying. They could start to hate themselves which can drive to depression, self-harm or even suicide. www.cyberbullying.org did a research at 2016 about cyberbullying victimization. They observed 12 until 17 years old students who suffer from being cyberbullied. 36.5 out of 40 of them have been cyberbullied in their lifetime. 24.9 out of 40 have been dealing with mean or hurtful comments on their posts. 12.2% have been threatened to be hurt by the bully through a phone call. Teenagers have suffered through many other cyberbullying forms that we can imagine, but most of them stay in silent. Why do they? Because most bullies would threaten them or they don’t know who the person behind the account is.
Just like how ‘traditional’ bullying have many forms and types, cyberbullying has different forms too. There are many forms of cyberbullying. First form is called harassment. Harassment is when the bully send hateful comments towards the victim and it doesn’t happen only once or twice, it is often repeated. Second form is called flaming. Flaming is similar with harassment; the only difference is that flaming is a fight between two people. The fight takes place through the internet, meaning it could be exchanged through text messages, emails, etc. Third form is called exclusion. This form happens when a group intentionally excludes someone out then continue to harass the individual. Fourth form is called outing. Outing is when the bully reveals or leaks personal info about the victim. The bully could share private information, pictures and/or videos through the internet. Last form but not in the very least is called masquerading. This happens when the bully creates an anonymous page or a fake identity just to hate on the victim.
Seeing how much the rates of cyberbullying has increased by a lot (more than 25%), it is important to acknowledge the signs of someone who is a victim of the problem. The victims may often feel shy and/or introverted, becomes moody or anxious, acts more aggressive to others, will deny that they need help, and last but not least, they will try attempt self-harm or even at the worst situation, cyberbullying will lead to suicide. One of the biggest ‘red flags’ for people who have become a victim is that they will shut down all social media.
On the other side, people need to recognize how important it is to acknowledge the people who are cyberbullying the victims. People who engage in cyberbullying will most likely stop using their devices when people are around them, becomes really secretive about what they do online and becomes temperamental when they get their electronic devices taken away. Cyberbullies are people who torment other people live through the use of digital devices. They will act almost the same like a ‘traditional’ bully, only to take it to the internet. They will often post, comment, share or make fun of a certain victim. Cyberbullying may happen to anybody, ranging from celebrities to even your closest friends.
Some states in America have tried to prevent cyberbullying by upgrading the law towards ‘online harassments. However, not all states have rules and laws amongst this topic. Singapore on the other hand, press criminal charges to the people who have act as a cyberbully. Indonesia has taken a law under the ITE wing that cyberbullying is now officially a form of harassment and is taken seriously. Someone who is caught under the act of cyberbullying will face up to four years behind jail cells and/or have to pay the fines of Rp.750,000.00. When a student is caught cyberbullying others, some may suspend the student or even expel them. Though there are many laws, cyberbullying is still happening around the world and people are getting more smarter to run away from problems if the ever get caught.
Catching a cyberbully could be hard. They could be an anonymous user who is smart enough not to let their location be seen by trackers, they could be a fake identity or even a robot. People would do so much efforts just to bring other people down. But, it would be a bigger problem when some bully gives death threats to the victim, which is unnecessary even if the victim did something bad. No one deserves something so low like being bullied, or even receiving death threats.
There is almost no possible way right now to completely stop cyber bullying, since it is based on the mindset of people. But, there are many ways you can prevent it from happening and what you can do if you are just a side watcher. If you are a victim, try your best not to respond to any of the hate. Responding or acting mad may give them the satisfaction. Secondly, because being bullied online leaves trace, you can save it as evidence if you ever need it for proof. Third, reach out for help. Know that seeking for help isn’t something to be embarrassed about, don’t feel ashamed to do so.
For the parents or close relatives of the victim, you can act too. Know that you are lucky and trusted. Most teenagers won’t tell any life problems they have to their parents. Only about 1 out of 10 teenagers would open up to their parents if they are being bullied online. Be as calm and openhearted as you can, panicking or being angry will let them regret telling you. Act thoughtfully, not fast. When you are acting fast, you may or may not fully think about the outcome. Last but not least, listen with your heart and mind to the victim. What the victim want is to be heard, to be helped. One thing parents are able to do so their child knows the dangers of cyberbullying is to educate them. Stuff like this isn’t teached by all schools, which is why it is important for the parent to speak up. They could establish some ground rules about using the internet, and teach them the do’s and don’ts. Parents need to take the responsibility of teaching their children the stuffs that they don’t teach at school, but some parents don’t even bother to do it.
Like any other kid and/or teenager who is dealing with bullies, they will often feel scared, that their anxiety is rushing over, depressed, low self-esteem and self-love. It is important to stop cyberbullying since no young child to grown adults should ever feel not worthy, which is why we all need to start being more open minded towards everyone.
In conclusion, cyberbullying is a serious problem that needs to be fixed immediately. As technology keeps growing, so will the minds of people. Technology is now something that we live in on a daily basis, which is why it is important to know the dangers of things we live in. Cyberbullying could affect someone in the worst way, it could harm both the physically mentally and physically. All parents, teachers and students should fight against cyberbullying so the internet could be a safe place for everyone. There is almost no possible way right now to completely stop cyber bullying, since it is based on the mindset of people. But, there are many ways you can prevent it from happening.
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- “Cyberbullying (for Teens).” Edited by Elana Pearl Ben-Joseph, KidsHealth, The Nemours Foundation, Apr. 2018, https://kidshealth.org/en/teens/cyberbullying.html.
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