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Cyberbullying

The article discusses the rise of cyberbullying and how can we mitigate it by understanding it a little better and talking about it.


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Paras Agarwal

3 months ago | 3 min read
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Before we begin to discuss cyber-bullying in detail, we will first look at bullying. It can be explained as a repeated activity or event with unnecessary use of force, threat, coercion, or abuse in an aggressive manner, often with a hostile intent, that usually results from an imbalance of power between two or more human beings. An act of bullying which involves the use of technology to harm someone can be classified as cyber bullying. The common medium and techniques used include text messages, social media websites, email among others. Cyberstalking, trolling and hate raids have become some of the common types of cyber harassment in the modern era.

The rise of cyberbullying has been growing exponentially ever since the dawn of COVID-19 era. With ever-increasing digital presence for kids of all ages, we see instances of children and adults being bullied regularly. Data suggests that Instagram, Twitter and Facebook are leading the charts for the platform hotspots for such incidents. About half of LGBTQ+ students experience some form of cyber bullying and girls being more likely to suffer from the same in comparison to boys. The fact that human beings are not only distancing socially but emotionally from each other makes tracking and preventing them even tougher.

Research has been focused to understand in depth about the effects of such bullying incidents on an individual. It has been found that one can develop stress related illness ultimately leading to suicide. They can also show long lasting changes in certain behavioral and emotional patterns. Some of the most common effects include depression, loneliness, anxiety, and low self-esteem. This can also lead to people staying irritated and angrier than usual even with their loved ones.

One of the bigger problems lies in the fact that there are no regulations on a global stage to define a clear structure to explain the prevention measures and hold certain online websites and apps accountable at the same time. We have seen multiple cases around how our privacy has been breached on social media with global technology giants being answerable in multiple courts for multiple legal charges but there have hardly been proper actions taken so far to weed out such bullies who go around destroying lives of people every day.

Bullying laws, particularly those pertaining to cyberbullying, are relatively new and is absent in many countries across the globe. As a result, many countries rely on other relevant laws, such as harassment laws, to punish cyberbullies. Online behavior that intentionally causes serious emotional distress is considered criminal activity in countries with specific cyberbullying laws. In some of these countries, victims of cyberbullying can seek protection, prohibit communication from a specific person, and temporarily or permanently restrict the use of electronic devices used by that person for cyberbullying. It is important to remember, however, that punishment is not always the most effective way to change bullies' behavior. It is often preferable to concentrate on repairing the damage and mending the relationship.

It is also important to create an environment where the victims feel comfortable and supported when they come out to report such an incident. We need to be aware of our surrounding and notice them as soon as they happen. Next, we should not be silent about it but ask questions and understand how it happened and who were involved. With this depth of information, we can look to document for others to learn from it and to make sure that it serves as a record for the agents of law to act upon. We should not shy away from reporting these incidents and promote the victims to take steps to bring justice. With the support of the whole community, we can start a change that can grow larger and include the leaders to implement even tougher policies and laws in place.

If we come together and take appropriate action towards eliminating it, we will surely achieve our goals and succeed one day. Until then, stay safe and stop bullies!

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