For many, the internet is a place of escape. It’s a place to rebuild oneself in the image we like. It’s a place where people can talk to anybody, anyhow they deem appropriate, without being held accountable.. The animosity of the internet gives people this confidence. With this new-found freedom, comes a new word – cyberbullying.
I am pretty sure you have heard the words “Twitter wars”, “trolling”, “flaming”, “hater”, and simply just “trending” when referring to situations of teasing, making fun, trying to bring down, or insulting someone on the internet. The more appropriate word for this behavior is Cyberbullying.
Consequently, cyberbullying is a type of bullying that involves harassing, oppressing, threatening, blackmailing, or coercing individuals through digital means, mostly through the use of social media. To create a clearer picture, Ill want you to picture everything you know about bullying, now picture it online.
Facts About Cyberbullying
- Cyberbullying has grown over the years on social media platforms. This is due to an increase in animosity of the internet, most especially. People can hide behind pseudo identities
- Tracking cyberbullies has become increasingly hard with the use of the dark web and pseudo identities. This encourages cyberbullies to target more victims
- Teenagers are the most susceptible to cyberbullying and are more likely to also bully each other. They are also more likely to intervene in cases of cyberbullying if it can be done anonymously.
- Moreover, young people who experience cyberbullying are more likely to self-harm and suicidal ideation.
- In addition, women and girls are more likely to be targets of cyber harassment, blackmailing, coercion, and threats.
- Finally, cyberbullying can be done by anyone, to anyone. No one is immune. A cyberbully can be a person you know in real life or a person you don’t know from across the globe.
Forms of Cyberbullying
Cyberbullying is extremely diverse and we cannot provide an exhaustive list of its different forms, these are a few:
This is the most common form and covers a wide range of behaviours. These are behaviours with the intent to do harm. Harassment involves humiliating, embarrassing, threatening, being mean, or demeaning another person or a group online.
This covers a deliberate act to detach a person or a group out of a discussion or activity online. Moreover, this could be either fully or partially. This activity or discussion could be the normal activities the victims believe they should be a part of. This can be really painful to the victim.
This is a classic case of stolen identity, more or less. It involves a person’s identity (name, picture or both) being used to post inappropriate contents thereby causing problems in that person’s life. This also includes the bully stealing the victim’s password and chatting with people, pretending to be the victim.
4. Inappropriate photographs:
There has been an increase in the unconsenting spread of private pictures and videos, even in Nigeria where this wasn’t a common behaviour. Most times these pictures are sent by the victims, unaware of the receiver’s true intent. In severe cases, these pictures and videos are taken without the victim’s awareness. Revenge porn also falls within this category. Revenge porn is when a person posts their ex-lover’s nude photographs and videos online either out of spite, jealousy, or simply to hurt their ex.
Trolling is the creation of discord online. A bully will seek out to intentionally upset others by posting inflammatory comments online. These comments may also be controversial with the intent to upset other users and elicit comments. The intent is usually malicious and harmful. However, this form in recent times can be considered chasing clout (when a person attempts to gain underserved fame)
This encompasses when a bully creates a fake account online with the sole purpose of cyberbullying someone. The bully tend to know the victim quite well.
This is the act of spreading cruel information about victims through public posts or private messages. This is done to ruin the victim’s reputation or relationships with other people
In a nutshell, this emcompasses openly revealing sensitive or personal information about a person without their consent with the purpose of embarrassing or humiliating them.
We may not be aware of it, but we may have directly or indirectly encouraged cyberbullying or bullying someone. The next time you find yourself engaging in any of the above forms, this is a subtle reminder that you are being a bully.
The downside of cyberbullying is that recent research has reported that the physical, psychological, and performance effects of cyberbullying are reported higher than traditional bullying. Learn about the effects of bullying here.
Don’t forget you can drop your comments below, we’ll love to hear from you.