Cyber-bullying: More powerful than people know and something more people need to be aware of
What’s cyber-bullying? A short answer would be bullying that’s conveyed through technology such as the internet. To understand cyber-bullying, we must first understand what bullying is and its existence in society.
Bullying in society before the “Cyber” part
Bullying has been part of human society from the very beginning. Bullies have always been known as villainous characters like ‘Butch’ on the Little Rascals and ‘Bluto’ on the cartoon classic Popeye (photo above). Schoolyard bullies are stereotypically known for taking lunch money from schoolmates or taking their lunch altogether, and beating up kids who dared defy their demands and expectations.
Bullies usually get done to them what they’ve done to others, in some form or fashion. Someone eventually stands up to them and overcomes the odds or they end up having to answer for their terrorism later in life, with the ironic possibility of being victimized by someone they bullied in the past. If bullies are not stopped, they usually continue their bullying ways through most of their lives.
Bullying plus technology equals cyber-bullying
With the advancement of technology in an arguably decadent society, bullying has reached epic proportions while being used as a form of asymmetrical warfare against others. Along with the Age of Information, people are more vulnerable to personal attacks and intimidation in ways most wouldn’t have imagined over 20 years ago, before the internet become part of modern society.
Casualties of cyber-bullying
Buzzfeed reported that 9 teenage suicides in the last year were connected to cyber-bullying. Looking at some statistics, cyber-bullying contributed to approximately 90% of teen suicides in the last year which makes it appear that cyber-bullying has the most impact on teen suicides, in the past year or two. This begs the question: Are parents monitoring and vetting their children’s internet activity enough?
Parents may apply some preventive measures against cyber-bullying
Tina Barseghian, editor of Mindshift, wrote in a Huffington Post blog:
Parents can use the subject of privacy settings as an opportunity to teach kids about navigating the online world. They can talk about what information they agree is acceptable to be shared with friends and with the public at large and about social media etiquette. With guidance and support, and with parents to set examples of what they think is appropriate, kids can learn their place and their responsibility as part of a worldwide online community.
It is important that parents be aware of their children’s activities online and it’s necessary that they understand the dangers that cyber-bullying presents to their children, in an age of growing technology. It may be wise to limit a child’s internet access, such as allowing them to use the home computer but limit the use of iPads and iPhones.
Cyber-bullying of adults
Cyber-bullying is not only utilized on young children; it’s used against adults in the form of textual physical intimidation, death threats, threats against friends and family, and the disclosure of personal information (document dropping) such as home addresses, phone numbers, and places of employment. This type of bullying not only disrupts the life of the target, but also the people who exist in the life of the target. The cyber-bullying of adults is generally executed by other adults that can have various motivations for their relentless harassment, such as revenge, jealousy, hate, and more.
In the video below, online blogger and commentator Tommy Sotomayor talks about his experience with cyber-bullying and speaks on one popular form of online intimidation through the releasing of personal information or otherwise known as document dropping:
Learn about cyber-bullying
Everyone should learn about cyber-bullying, how to protect yourself from it, and the laws against online intimidation; get information for your own protection. Even though there are cyber patrols and police in our communities, we can’t always depend on law enforcement to protect us so we must prepare ourselves by educating ourselves and make our own calls for action, for our friends, family, children, and ourselves.