Cyberbullying is the use of social media platforms and other electronic and IT technologies to harass or humiliate people. The extent of cyberbullying can range from a simple rumour or gossip about a person on the internet to publishing material which might be defaming and harassing to the individual. With the rise of social media, cases of cyberbullying amongst teens have been on the rise. Victims have been known to suffer from symptoms such as lower self-esteem, resorting to drugs, poor grades in school, health problems and many more.
1. Methods of Cyberbullying
Cyberbullying works in 2 different ways. Either there can be direct attacks wherein messages or other content is sent to your child directly or there can be Cyberbullying through a proxy where others are used to bully your child over the internet. Cyberbullying can be as simple as sending personal messages, threats to the person when the person has refused to keep any kind of contact with the sender. Defaming a person on online public forms, spreading rumours about a person, sexually inapt remarks and even ganging up to make mockery of the person on online social platforms are some forms of cyberbullying. Social media platforms are the largest platforms for Cyberbullying. Fake accounts of the victim are created where in personal details are mentioned to harass the individual, intimate pictures are shared and much more. Now with the increased use of smartphones, Cyberbullying has risen to an entire different level.
2. Harmful effects of Cyberbullying
Cyberbullying has often led to lower self-esteem, suicidal tendencies and in some cases depression among the victims. Cyberbullying is treated more harmful than traditional bullying as there is no escaping it as it can happen 24*7. The worst effect that Cyberbullying has on you is that you tend to avoid contact with your near and dear ones which is actually the intention of the cyberbully.
3. Preventing Cyberbullying
Every Cyberbullying incident is different and every cyberbully has a different motive. So, there is no one perfect solution to prevent Cyberbullying once it has started. Educating your child about the consequences of cyberbullying is the first step towards preventing cyberbullying. As far as schools are concerned, they can go a long way in teaching cyber ethics and law to the students and in shaping up their personality. As parents, be careful of what your children are doing online. Also encouraging them to immediately tell them in case they or someone they know is being cyberbullied.
4. Take action
The immediate steps in case of Cyberbullying is to keep the evidence of Cyberbullying, not to forward any kind of content involving Cyberbullying and to block the cyberbully. It is always better to report Cyberbullying to the social media providers who can take actions against such persons when they are abusing their terms of service. Cyberbullies should be immediately reported to the law enforcement agencies in case there are laws against Cyberbullying in your state. It is never too late to take a stand against Cyberbullying.
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