If not controlled, cyber harassment & bullying can lead to bad outcomes, such as suicide and addictions. It’s better late than never to take action and guide the innocent victims to become strong and overcome their bullies by reporting them.
When carried out securely and sensibly, communication through social and other online public platforms can be beneficial, both professionally and socially. However, if you’re planning to point out someone’s figure, way of dressing, and personality – you deserve punishment!
If you’re not careful with your comments, it can lead to countless uninvited consequences, one of which is cyber harassment.
Unfortunately, online pestering has become all too common in the age of the internet. Reportedly, 40% of Americans have experienced online harassment, and believe us, that number is no joke.
The harassment methods varied from name-calling to irritating behaviors such as stalking. Also, two-thirds of Americans have experienced harassing or abusive behavior toward others online.
Among the fatalities of cyber harassment, teens and adolescents are a popular target. Many teens and adolescents have been bullied online, and most young people don’t even disclose it to their parents – a major red flag.
While fingers shouldn’t be pointed at cyberstalking victims, the latest online landscape lends itself to crafting “easy targets.” For instance, many social media users consider sharing their personal information, desires, family photos, and feelings to be nothing but a trend.
This post will explain everything regarding cyberbullying and provide tips on how NOT to BECOME AN EASY TARGET.
What Is Cyber Harassment?
Cyber harassment is different from in-person bullying (but the two aren’t mutually private) in that it can be:
Cyber harassment does not end at school; it can follow a child’s home as well.
More challenging to spot
What teenagers and children do online is not always apparent to teachers and parents. Bullying conducted online or via text can more easily be overlooked.
Cyber harassment leaves a paper trail that can become the shadow of both the victim and the bully for years.
6 Shocking Cyber Harassment Statistics
- 50% of children admit they have been bullied online
- Only 2 out of 10 victims will discuss it with their teachers or parents
- More than 40% of victims say they have become an exclusive target
- 92% of cyber harassment attacks are held through commenting and chatting on social media websites
- 70% admit they have seen cyberbullying
- Half of cyberbullying victims consider committing suicide to be the only solution – which is a violation!
Examples of Cyber Harassment/Bullying
Internet harassment is the term used to define the use of the internet to harass, maliciously embarrass, bully, or threaten. It can involve behaviors such as:
- Spreading rumors
- Sending negative texts directly to the victim
- Sending threatening emails
- Sending viruses via email (AKA electronic sabotage)
- Encouraging others to send the innocent victim threatening emails or unsolicited texts
- Making insulting remarks about the victim online
- Harassing the victim during a live conversation
- Leaving abusive notes online, including social media platforms
- Producing online content that negatively portrays the victim – revenge porn
Why Do People Get Involved in Cyber Harassment?
Those who oppress others often do it because they think they are someway defensible in tormenting the person or that it’s funny. Some people torture others out of insecurity, anger, or fear. They may be experiencing personal problems at home, such as abuse, alcoholism, or divorce.
Studies suggest that most bullies have a negative view of themselves with low self-esteem, so they pick on others to feel good about themselves.
Bullies only go for easy targets, such as the child who’s an outcast or doesn’t fit in. It may provide the bully with a sense of power, especially if they feel powerful in other parts of their lives.
Cyber harassment gives teens a transparent way to pick on others and butter their peers to take their side.
This One’s for the Parents: Signs Your Child Is a Victim of Cyber Harassment
- Staying protective or secretive of their digital life
- Zoning out during on-the-dinner-table conversations
- Being upset or emotional after using the phone or internet
- Losing concentration in activities and withdrawing from friends and family
- Stopping use of cell phone and computer
- Avoiding school or group gatherings
- Changes in sleep, appetite, behavior, or mood
- Avoiding discussions related to internet activities
- A noticeable decline in grades
- Jumpiness or nervousness when receiving a message, email, or text
How To Control the Situation – Again, for Parents
It can be painful for a parent to watch their child suffer in agony due to online haters. Even the slightest form of rude words can lead to depression among young ones.
What can parents do to control the situation and help their children regain their strength with such delicate offsprings? Here’s what you can do:
- Block the haters – if possible, block all the bullies and haters on every social media account
- Take what your child says seriously – the golden point of parenting is to listen to what your child has to say and guide them every step of the way. Make them feel safe while having this conversation with you.
- Give their school a call – Lots of schools have anti-bullying programs in place that will help your kid deal with online bullying from a fellow student.
- Understand the laws – If the situation worsens, it’s time to document the harassment and call on the law if you want to take serious charge of the matter.
The Impact of Cyber Harassment on Students
Cyberbullying can have an unadorned impact on students’ grades, overall quality of life, and self-esteem. Because it does not end at school and can continue in everyday life, it can be gruesome for children to escape.
As long as a school-going child has access to a computer, phone, or other internet-enabled devices, she or he is susceptible to cyber harassment. Studies have shown the significant influence that cyberbullying has, including:
- Increased likelihood of depression, alcohol, and drug abuse, anxiety, low life satisfaction for the cyberbullies
- Targets of cyber harassment face a massive risk for suicidal attempts and thoughts
- Lowered academic achievements and satisfaction for both the bullied and the bully
- Cyberbullies often get cyberbullied in return, and cyberbullying victims have a 90% chance of becoming haters themselves
- For the cyberbullies, the results of their actions can be severe. They could get expelled or suspended from school and removed from activities, clubs, and sports teams. Specific forms of cyber harassment can even be considered illegal.
Tips To Prevent Cyber Harassment
To help prevent cyber-harassment and adequately handle cases of online hating, here are six suggestions for parents, mentors, and kids/teenagers themselves should consider:
1. Educate Yourself
To stop cyber harassment from occurring, you must learn precisely what it is. You’re obviously too attached to the internet; why not use it for a useful purpose this time?
Research what constitutes cyber harassment, where and how it occurs, and discuss with your friends about what they are experiencing and seeing.
2. Keep the photographs PG
Before sending/uploading a racy picture of yourself online, consider the consequences. Just ask yourself this question: “Is this how I want others to look at me?” Bullies can use this photograph as ammo to make your life a living hell.
3. Set some privacy controls
This is an effective way of avoiding online harassment and stalkers. Restrict who can look at your online profiles to only friends.
4. Protect Your Passcode
Safeguard your password and all personal information from interested peers. You never want to give bullies an open-opportunity to post private/false/embarrassing details or pictures on your social media accounts or send them to the entire school via email.
5. Log yourself out from all public computers
Like not giving your password to anyone, never give someone even the slightest chance to share false information about you or become a fake-you. Other than that, by staying logged in, you run the risk of the hater locking you out of your account or changing your password.
6. Report cyberbullies
With a person on the other side, hiding their identity, cyberbullies find it easier to torment without consequences. To fight this, we have to encourage kids to report these criminals. There are a few reasons these external bodies aren’t reported.
Primarily, there is an obvious distress of retaliation. Children would rather keep their mouths shut than be labeled a stoolpigeon or encourage the bully to do more hateful things. In addition to this, kids feel embarrassed.
Being a target of mean comments can be shameful and hard to bring up to parents/adults. Bullies prey on people’s insecurities as a joke so that no one would report them.
While these concerns and worries are not something parents can control, but you can manage your reaction when your kid mentions it to you. Reassuring your son/daughter of your support will help them feel calm and comfortable reporting these menaces.
Conclusion: Cyber Harassment Should Always be Discouraged
Appropriate approaches to dealing with cyber harassment must involve prevention, remediation, education, and detection; and demands involvement from mentors, school administrators, law enforcement, parents, and of course, children.
Although technology is the catalyst that enables cyberbullying to occur, some trends in cyber-harassment prevention and detection for schools involve technology, such as IT platforms to set alerts to administrators when students use specific school devices for bullying.
Using technology to combat cyberbullying can close the gap between what teenagers do online and what administrators and parents are aware of. CWP