Cyberbullying is at an all-time high especially due to the dramatic revolution in technology and the internet. This ‘faceless evil’ started out small but it’s now a serious vice punishable by law in some jurisdictions. It’s just unfortunate that at the moment we don’t have a global resolve on cyberbullying but the fight is not lost yet.
Recent campaign awareness goes to show that Cyberbullying is a problem that isn’t going away soon but one that needs to be urgently addressed. Statistics show a steady growth in Cyberbullying over the years with reference to research conducted in 2007 that found 32 percent of teens have been victims of Cyberbullying at some point in their lives. A decade later, it was found that the numbers had not changed a bit. Parents have been on a strict guard to protect their kids from these online bullies. Famisafe is a popular parental control used by many parents to shield kids from cyberbullying, pornography and gambling sites.
A cyberbully typically looks for two things in their quest: opportunity and attention. The internet gives individuals the opportunity to bully others with ease and anonymity. Prior to the internet, bullying meant physical assault or slander. Nowadays, bullying occurs at the click of a button and to a much larger audience. The bully’s comments can spread quickly and the perpetrator gets to obtain immediate gratification such as likes, shares or even re-tweets.
TYPES OF CYBERBULLYING
Harassment entails sending harmful and malicious messages to an individual or a group of individuals. The most common form of harassment is posting rumors about someone on their social media platform to attack their character. When there is a continual sending of threatening messages, harassment quickly turns to cyberstalking.
- CYBER STALKING
This is a serious form of cyberbullying where an individual expresses intention to cause physical harm to the target. A cyberstalker normally monitors their target, spreads false accusations and may at times extend to offline stalking. When Cyberbullying shifts from the internet to the real world, it becomes a criminal offense that the law needs to intervene. Police provide preventative measures such as restraining orders, probation or even jail time in an attempt to curb cyberbullying.
Flaming is a way of Cyberbullying where an individual attacks another via emails, instant messages or chat rooms. Flaming can both be found online and offline. Harsh language or an image of a person is spread with the intention of causing them harm.
Exclusion means to intentionally leave someone out or singling them out from a group that involves mutual friends. The group consequently leaves rude comments to harass the individual singled out. This is very common in schools where a group of students decide to single a student out and talk mean comments to them.
Trolling occurs when an individual intentionally harasses someone by posting inflammatory comments online. Celebrities, politicians, and people in positions of power are common targets of trolling. Trolling in some extreme conditions have led to teens committing suicide as a result of being trolled over the internet.
Outing happens when someone shares personal and private information such as pictures, text, and videos out in the public without the person’s consent. Outing also is known as doxing is openly revealing sensitive information without the owner’s permission for the purposes of humiliating and harassing the individual.
Masquerading is a very common form of the cyberbully and it’s where a bully creates a fake identity or a profile to anonymously harass another individual. The bully impersonates someone else in order to send malicious messages to his or her victim. A bully may have more than two fake social media profiles to fool their victims. In the beginning, they may pretend to be friendly until they strike and cause harm to the victim. In most cases, masqueraders are normally individuals that the victim knows too well.
Frapping is a disturbing form of cyberbullying where an individual uses another person’s social media platforms to post inappropriate content with their name. A bully can hack someone’s account, change their passwords to lock them out and start posting malicious content on their profiles. The content in some instances maybe racial or even homophobic and this may ruin an individual’s reputation or career.