Cyberbullying or online bullying is a form of harassment where the harasser utilizes electronic means to badger his target. This form of harassment has become increasingly common, especially among those who fall in the 10 to 20 age group. It includes sending someone disturbing messages personally, publicly posting or sharing negative, false or mean content about them. It also includes revealing private information about someone, making sexual remarks, threatening or blurting out pejorative labels that cause mental, psychological, emotional agony and at times physical pain and humiliation that can result in trauma to the victimized.
Cyber harassment often trespasses the line into unlawful or criminal behavior¬†and can be identified by repeated toxic behavior that is intended to harm. According to a survey that compiled data from 28 countries, conducted by the UK-based consumer tech-review firm Comparitech, 37% of parents admitted that their children have become victims of cyberbullying, at least once.
India, as the survey suggests, is one of the worst affected arenas, establishing itself as a land of cyber bullies ‚Äì since the country recorded the highest rate of those in 2018 so far. Sometimes, parents of the bullied have been found to be unaware of the same and hence, have failed to come forth and take the necessary remedial and precautionary measures. Talking about the role of parents in relation to this data, the report stated, ‚ÄúIndian parents remained among the highest to express confidence that their children were cyberbullied at least sometimes, a number that only grew from 2011 to 2018.‚Äù
Just as with bullying before social media and internet forums, those who bully others typically look for two things: opportunity and attention. But ever since the internet has become more accessible, the recorded instances of bullying have also become frequent. Bullying can occur immediately, to a much larger audience and can spread much faster, to the convenience of the guilty. Additionally, those who choose to bully others can get more immediate gratification from likes, shares, retweets, and the ‚Äúpiling-on‚Äù effect that often occurs when others add to an already negative situation.
The following are a few methods of bullying that children, at some point in time, have experienced-
‚Ä¢ Exclusion-¬†Exclusion is the deliberate act of leaving someone out.
‚Ä¢ Harassment- Harassment is a sustained, constant and intentional form of bullying comprising of abusive or threatening messages sent to the person or to a group.
‚Ä¢ Cyberstalking- This form of cyberbullying can extend to the cyberbully making real threats to the child‚Äôs physical well-being and/or safety. Cyberstalking can also refer to the practice of adults using the Internet to contact and attempt to meet with young people for sexual purposes. This is the most dangerous form of cyberbullying and can have serious implications, that are even fatal if something isn‚Äôt done immediately to curtail them.
‚Ä¢ Trolling- It is the most recent and common way to harass someone publicly in order to cause defamation. Trolling is deliberately done to provoke a response through the use of insults or bad language and is supposed to cause shame on a personal level. The troll abuses the victim in a way that can put them down. Trolls spend their time looking for vulnerable people to put down. Usually, they are looking to make themselves feel better by putting others through misery.
There can be various forms in which a person can be bullied, affecting not just an individual but all those who are associated with them in the society.