We tackled scam calls, cybercrimes against women and how to spot identity theft. Today, we put the spotlight on a specific cybercrime: cyberbullying. While online socialising has opened a whole new dimension of ways to communicate, it has some unpleasant effects, too. Cyberbullying is one example that has had devastating outcomes on our youth. It uses online communication to abuse or degrade someone. It’s a crime that doesn’t restrict itself to the playground. With advancements in technology, cyberbullying has gained notoriety over the years.
Unlike bullying, cyberbullying doesn’t require physical strength or a face-to-face meeting. Anyone with an Internet connection and a device can be a cyberbully. There are no specific hours, and it can happen 24/7. Since many platforms don’t make an effort to verify that people are who they say they are, the cyberbully can choose an alias and remain anonymous.
According to a recent survey by Norton, 64% of parents believe their children are more likely to be bullied online than on a playground, which means finding solutions to ending online bullying should be a priority for parents and school officials. In the face of traumatic experiences, the mind of a child can be deeply impacted, and those experiences can leave lifelong scars. Children have difficulty knowing how to respond when they are harassed. And when they do react, they often don’t completely understand the consequences of their actions. Cyberbullying has left many of our youth depressed or withdrawn, and in some cases it has led the victim to commit suicide.
5 types of cyberbullying
A deliberate act to embarrass or publicly humiliate an individual by posting their private, sensitive or embarrassing information online. The information revealed can be insignificant or serious, but can have a severe impact on the victim.
Fraping is serious offense where a person accesses the victim’s social media account and impersonates them in an attempt to be funny or to ruin their reputation. Fraping can have serious consequences, especially because once something is out there, it is very hard to delete it and mend the victim’s digital reputation.
Dissing is when people share or post cruel information about your child online to ruin their reputation or friendships with others. This includes posting personal photos, videos and screenshots. The person sharing this information will usually be a friend or acquaintance of the victim.
Trolling is a form of cyberbullying done by insulting an individual online to provoke them enough to get a response. Usually these attacks are personal and instigate anger in the victim, making them lash out and behave badly.
Trickery is the act of gaining a child’s trust so they reveal their secrets or embarrassing information, which the cyberbully posts on the Internet for everyone to see. The person pretends to be a close friend and confidante, and gives the child a false sense of security before breaking his/her trust.
What to do about it
One of the first things parents must do when their child is being cyberbullied is stay aware and calm. Children may not like to tell their parents when they are being cyberbullied because they are afraid that they will lose their Internet privileges. Talk to your children about cyberbullying. Teach them the basics of online security and stay connected with them daily and digitally.
Another option to keep children safe online is to install reliable online security on all the devices they access.
Cyberbullying, like any other problem, will take time to solve. But when handled calmly, there are solutions available to help manage the menace.