In this article, we will know about what is cyberbullying and how to stop it?
The easy accessibility of computers, the internet, and smartphones has made cyberbullying a menacing problem in society. It is a common prevailing and subtle form of violent acts or harassment in our public and private lives. The worst part is that a cyberbully remains anonymous and posts unsigned attacks on social networking sites. It makes cyberbullying even worse than bullying.
What is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying or cyberharassment is a form of bullying using electronic means like the internet. It is also known as online bullying. Cyberbullying has become common, especially among teenagers, as the digital sphere has expanded in recent years and technology has advanced.
It can occur in many forms, including using social media to spread hurtful or untrue information or rumors about another individual, creating fake identities and using them to manipulate or harm others, posting unwanted photos of an individual, or doctoring photos of an individual using PhotoShop or other photo editing software programs.
Harmful Effects of Cyberbullying
Cyberbullying has become the fastest-growing form of bullying and can be much more damaging and harmful than traditional schoolyard bullying. Those who have been bullied and have themselves been bullies show a higher incidence of anxiety, depression, and absenteeism than those who were only bullies or only victims. Those who had no involvement in cyberbullying had the highest self-esteem and academic performance.
The old saying that “sticks and stones can break your bones, but words can never hurt you“ is wrong. Words often leave more of a psychological mark than physical attacks because our physical body often heals faster than our mind mends itself. Words are hard to forget, and thus healing can be blocked by our memory of the event, which lingers forever.
Cyberbullying is also more elusive. Those bullied are more helpless and powerless in many ways because it is difficult to fight back. In many cases, those bullied don’t even know who or where the attacks are coming from. It leaves the targeted person even more defenseless.
Facts and Stats on Cyberbullying
• 48% of kids interviewed said they couldn’t identify the bully
• 52% could identify the bully
• 36% of targeted kids reported that a “friend” was the bully
With the more traditional schoolyard bullying, it all ends at about 2:00 p.m., and you get a break from it, assuming you return to supportive home life. With cyberbullying, the attacks may be there 24/7 and can spread to thousands in just days. There is no supervision, so how do you stop it?
How To Stop Cyberbullying?
Various forms of cyberbullying often overlap, and the bully may choose to use many tactics to hurt their target. For example, they may share private information or share personal photos about someone after gaining access to their account. They may even slander an individual on social media platforms or send threatening messages.
Here are some ways to stop cyberbullying.
1. Prevent Raising a Bully
According to a study conducted by Tulane University, “children who were spanked/slapped more than twice a month were 50% more likely than those who weren’t spanked to develop aggressive behaviors.”
It’s quite easy to point fingers at parents, but even good parents can raise a bully. Below is a shortlist of useful tips to help parents prevent raising a bully:
- Inspiration: Be a source of inspiration for your kids by controlling your temper, as your child keenly studies and takes cues from your behavior.
- Listen: Get involved with your children and pay attention to their social relationships and what they say about their classmates.
- Friendly environment: Maintain a friendly and warm environment where your child can share their feelings with you.
- Respect: Give your children exposure to diverse people and explain to your child why it is necessary to respect people from all walks of life.
- Impart discipline, respect, and good manners: These are other important things to impart to your child. Teach your child empathy.
- Child Psychologist: Seek the help of professionals if your child portrays a lot of aggression or was once doing so.
2. Identify Cyberbullying
The best way to make sure that your children are safe on the internet is to use a phone monitoring parental control software that doesn’t require any download or installation.
Such software makes parents aware of the questionable behavior of their teens on the web, including the photos or videos that they share publically, personal info, potential internet addiction, porn addiction, and so on.
Along with this, the parental control software program also can assist you to keep tabs on a child’s cell smartphone usage, along with text messages, and empower you to protect your kids through flagging posts that might cause severe damage in your teen’s future. All you need to do to signup and submit your email address, and the software will take care of everything else.
3. Talk to your children
Teens are not always open to the idea of reporting bullying, whether they are a victim or a bystander. It is because many teens think that telling an adult or parents may result in their computer or smartphone privileges being taken away.
Children need to know that parents take their reports of bullying seriously and will definitely take some action. If your child is currently a victim of cyberbullying, follow some of the conversation points below with your child:
- If you don’t trust us, then at least share your problems with your friend. It’s way easier to tackle the situation of an aggressive teen by including someone who your child trusts, like a friend, in the conversation.
- We’re always there for you, and you aren’t alone. Many children suffer the effect of isolation today.
- Please talk to me; you don’t need to suffer alone. Please let us know what’s going on, or we can’t help you. If you don’t prefer talking to me, then speak to a trusted teacher or child counselor, and together we can solve your problem. (Try to console your child and develop trust so that they can be more open to you).
- Never strike or argue back. Although your teen’s aggressive behavior may double your anger and frustrate you, remember never strike, hit, or harshly scold your children. It will only worsen the situation and double your teen’s aggressive attitude.
- Help your child to entertain outside school activities. Boost your children’s confidence by involving them in other activities that will raise their self-esteem.
4. Have a Child Counselor
Having a child counselor can prove to be a great option to stop cyberbullying. No matter how close teens are to their parents, they often hesitate to discuss the problems of cyberbullying and other issues they are facing online with their parents or teachers.
Having a professional counselor help can be a great help in talking about any problems students face. It provides each child an opportunity to communicate and share their feelings and spread awareness on cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying might seem humorous to some people, but it is a serious problem. Kids who are bullied online often feel hurt and rejected by their peers. This can lead to low self-esteem, stress, anxiety, and depression. Therefore, cyberbullying should not be tolerated and should be reported to authorities.