What is Cyberbullying?

What is Cyberbullying

What is cyberbullying? this is very important and crucial question in cyber world.

Cyberbullying = Cyber + Bullying
Let’s start with the second word, “bullying,” the act of intimidating and frightening another person into submission. When the intimidation combines the use of technology or the internet, aka “cyber,” the range of possibilities changes significantly due to the extension of the digital world, so it becomes cyberbullying. Let’s discuss this in detail.

Contents

1What is cyberbullying?
2Examples and Types of Cyberbullying
3What are the most common places where cyberbullying may occur
4Cyberbullying Prevention

I was 11 years old when my mom and I were evicted.

Mom, are we moving again? “apurate” “keep up.” There was so much sadness and pain in my mom’s voice.

It’s raining, and I am wearing my white shoes, a kind of ballerina flats that were pretty when they were new. Now, not so much. My left shoe has a hole, and my foot is getting wet. I thought I fixed this morning with the cardboard I cut from the empty milk container. I need to put on more cardboard layers tomorrow. 

We continue our walk-in silence, me almost tripping over a few times. Then, suddenly, my mom points to the left. “That’s your new school.”

I forget all about my shoes. I am mesmerized by the size of the building. WOW, my new school! It’s a blue building. It has three floors and a large patio. So many kids are playing outside. It must be recess time.

I keep walking while imagining myself in the new school. It’s my last year at elementary school. I haven’t been in school for several weeks, and almost half of the year has passed. Therefore there is so much I need to catch up on!

We keep walking in the light rain. Finally, my mom says, “Paola, pay attention to the way to school because you need to walk tomorrow. I’m starting a new job, and I would leave early in the morning, and you need to walk by yourself.”

My first day at school was not as magical as I had imagined. It was probably no more than ten minutes when someone was already pulling my hair, pushing me around, and making fun of my old white shoes. 

I like the famous quote from Marilyn Ferguson: “Sometimes things get worse before they get better.” So, in my experience and journey, they do get better, and the lessons and growth could be life-changing.

During my school days, there were no phones, computers, or social media, so bullying stayed at school. Unless, of course, your classmates lived in the neighborhood, the bullying continued near your home. But, even if that was the case, you could close your home door and remove from the toxic influences.

Our world today it’s so different. Technology is around us in everything we do, and because of that cyberbullying could be a 24×7 torment we carry in our pockets.  

What is Cyberbullying

What is cyberbullying?
Bullying is an aggressive behavior against one person or group of people to establish a position of power to intimidate, abuse, and hurt others. It’s unwelcome and unwanted. 

Traditional bullying means I knew who was pulling my hair or mocking me because of my shoes and appearance. Cyberbullying, on the other hand, implies hurtful bullying behavior that occurs online with the use of computers, cell phones, and the use of digital-communication tools.

Some examples of cyberbullying include publishing mean social media posts, sending hurtful text messages, instant messaging or gaming threats, sharing embarrassing photos, and so much more. The main difference between bullying and cyberbullying is that you may not know who is behind the aggressive acts. Anyone can anonymously share content, making cyberbullying feel even more threatening. 
In a nutshell, bullying is when words and actions are used to scare or hurt someone else. Cyberbullying is when this happens through technology!

Examples and Types of Cyberbullying
There are different ways how cyberbullying occurs. It can happen to young people at schools. It can also happen to adults in the workplace and even happen to families and friends. Aggressive online behaviors could affect anyone. Educating ourselves about cyberbullying can help our loved ones prevent it and navigate the situation as smoothly as possible if it happens. I believe it’s possible to develop the necessary mindset and skills to overcome it and use it as an opportunity of growth and self-development.

The top five examples are:

  • Harassment
    According to Statista https://www.statista.com/statistics/333942/us-internet-online-harassment-severity/ 41% of internet users had personally experienced any kind of online harassment. Harassment means it’s constant and sustained aggression using hurtful content and threats.   
  • Outing or Doxing
    When someone openly reveals sensitive and private information about another person without their authorization or consent. This type of cyberbullying intends to embarrass or humiliate the victim. It could be in the form of revenge porn, sharing photos, or personal messages. 
  • Discredit
    The bully acts by spreading cruel and false information about a target victim using public posts or private messages to ruin the person’s reputation or relationships with other people. The bully may be seeking revenge or inflicting damage. This type of cyberbullying tends to happen with someone with a personal relationship with the victim. For example, they could be an acquaintance or a friend. 
  • Exclusion
    This form of cyberbullying is about leaving or excluding someone out on purpose. For example, a child or adult might be excluded/uninvited to groups, parties, meetings, and outings when they see everyone else has been included. It could also happen online in message threats or conversations related directly to the victim’s interest. 
  • Cyberstalking
    This one is a severe form of cyberbullying, and it’s considered a criminal offense and a cybercrime. Cyberstalking extends to threats and physical harm to the victim and can include online monitoring and offline stalking. Severe cases can result in restraining orders, probation and even criminal charges for the cyberstalker.

What are the most common places where cyberbullying may occur
Social media is an incredible tool that allows us to communicate, create and connect without barriers allowing messages to circulate instantly. Never before in our history we have the opportunity to reach people in every corner of the world with the tap of our finger. Unfortunately, it could also be a place where cyberbullying occurs and spreads rapidly. 

Many types of apps and sites allow anonymous content to be shared, making cyberbullying hidden. Additionally, information may disappear or may not even be registered or saved on electronic devices of child(ren), young adult, or a family member. 

In addition to traditional and well-known social media platforms and communication tools, we use in our daily lives, such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Tik Tok, WhatsApp, Twitter, YouTube, and so much more. Let’s review some additional popular social media apps and sites frequently used that promote or support anonymity.

Askfm: This social networking site is often used anonymously to allow users to ask other people questions. 

Calculator%: a secret app that seems harmless, but it hides photos, videos, files, and browser history.

Kik: Messaging app that allows users of all ages to contact each other anonymously. 

Line: A messaging app that allows users to make free phone calls, leave a voice message, and text. Here is the danger of cyberbullying, it allows users to delete texts or chats from the recipient’s phone using a timer. 

Omegle: An app that pairs users with strangers in anonymous one-on-one chat rooms session.

Sarahah: This anonymous messaging app allows users to send anonymous messages to people they may know. 

What is Cyberbullying3

Cyberbullying Prevention
The content shared online, whether personal or content that is mean, negative or hurtful, creates a public and permanent record. 

Today, people rely on online data and trust the information found is accurate, whether in business or personally. For example, employers, schools, colleges, clubs, and other organizations may be researching information about individuals they want to hire, enroll, or have a relationship with. Therefore, protecting our online reputation is vital. Unfortunately, bullies sometimes don’t consider the negative impact and consequences of posting poisonous content and personal information about others online. Yes, it can hurt the other person, but in the long run, it may hurt them even more.

There are three simple actions parents, teachers, and loved ones can take to prevent and manage cyberbullying if it happens.

First, Be Intentional in establishing conversations with children and young adults about cyberbullying and cyber safety practices. When we become intentional in managing our technology and digital assets, the more we can participate and understand the dynamics at school and home and integrate cyber as a positive experience. For example, consider integrating fun cyber activities, such as:

  • – Keeping your devices safe and making decisions about updating your apps. 
  • – Promoting an environment where children and teens feel they can speak up about anything related to their social life.

Second, Be Aware of the basics of cybersecurity and cyber safety, and stay up-today with the latest apps, social media tools, and the digital language children and teens use. Cultivate your inner cyber mindset by integrating practices that you love and are passionate about with the use of technology. For example:

  •  – Engage in a fun family game where everyone lists all the apps they are using
  •  – Create a map of your children’s technical footprint and knows their email addresses and the profiles they use online for social media sites. 
  • – Check the apps that track your loved one’s location, privacy settings, and more.
  • – Review additional resources at StopBullying.gov

 And finally, Be Mindful, be fully present when you use technology. Be a role model and a good example in your family about using your digital assets. If cyberbullying happens to a loved one, breath, stay calm, and a good way to start taking action is to gather the evidence as fast as you can. 

What is Cyberbullying4

Advice your children and teens to do screenshots of any harmful or offensive information. I know sometimes we want to delete the hurtful texts and phone numbers immediately as they are painful to observe and may affect our mental health. However, proof that you have been bullied can be extremely helpful if the situation escalates. It is best to engage law enforcement support, especially in immediate danger.

Be Intentional, Aware, and Mindful. Be I AM and share with your family to Be I AM so they develop a strong mindset that can help them navigate any bullies they encounter in their life. You have nothing to lose and everything to gain. So give it a try, Be I AM. Be I AM now!

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Sandra Estok, CEO and Founder of Way2Protect | Happily Ever Cyber!

Sandra Estok

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