What Is Cyber-Bullying
Cyber-bullying refers to the use of mobile phones, computers, social networks and other forms of digital technology to repeatedly intimidate, humiliate, tease or upset a young person. Unlike cyber-stalking or cyber-harassment which involves an adult, cyber-bullying occurs among young people and children. Unlike cyber-stalking, cyber-bullying isn’t unlawful but harassment or intimidation is and should be reported.
What Are the Differences Between Real-Life and “Virtual” Bullying
Besides the use of digital technology to disturb another young person, cyber-bullying usually also involves anonymous bully or bullies who are hiding their identity by blocking their mobile phone number, hiding IP address, using fake profile account, etc. Unlike school bullying, cyber-bullying often involves multiple people which aggravates the victim’s distress by making him or her feel that everyone turned against him or her. Lastly, cyber-bullying can happen 24 hours a day which means that the victim is under constant stress.
Types of Cyber-Bullying
There are many ways to humiliate, intimidate or upset a person via digital technology. The most common forms include:
Sending malicious emails. This involves sending malicious emails to the bullied person as well as to other people with an aim to upset or hurt the feelings of another person. Sending email containing inappropriate content, videos or viruses is also considered bullying.
- Sending abusive text messages by using instant messaging and chat rooms.
- Sending abusive SMSes or making threatening phone calls. Calling a person at inappropriate hours and hanging off upon his or her response is also defined as bullying.
- Writing upsetting comments on someone’s social network profile.
- Spreading malicious rumours online, such as forums, online communities, etc.
The Effects of Cyber-Bullying
Cyber-bullying is just as upsetting, if not even more so than real-life bullying. The bullied person often feels that he or she is under a constant “attack”. Also, nasty comments on social networks and spreading malicious rumours online means many people will see them which further aggravates emotional distress of the victim.
Just like school bullying, cyber-bullying causes a severe stress for the victim which often leads to anxiety and even depression, while the bullied person can also develop physical health problems as a result of the stress.
What To Do To Stop Cyber-Bullying
Cyber-bullies typically hide their identity which makes the upsetting behaviour more challenging to stop. There are, however, several measures you can take to block the bullies such as:
- Make your social network profile inactive for a while or delete it.
- Block chat room users and email address if you are getting abusive text messages or malicious mails.
- Turn off your mobile phone’s ringing sound if you are receiving phone calls at inappropriate hours and ignore calls from unfamiliar numbers.
- Turn to your friends or parents for help. If you don’t know how to handle the situation on your own, don’t hesitate to ask your friends or parents for help. They can help you find new ways to deal with cyber-bullying as well as make you feel better about yourself by letting you know that you are not alone.