Cyber-bullying, cyber-harassment, or online bullying, can in most layman's terms be explained as bullying or harassment using electronic means. With the advance of the digital sphere and shift to online teaching platforms, there has been a rise in this, especially among teenagers. Every advancement comes with its list of disadvantages too, and certainly, cyberbullying is the low of increased access to technology, that many have fallen victim to.
It is any type of harassing, threatening, or use of demeaning language. Thus, could be via the means of social media, messages, or any other e-platforms. And in the form of hurtful texts, emails, posts, images, or videos. Or by deliberately excluding someone, spreading nasty rumors, name-calling, threats, impersonating, using another individual's credentials, hacking, stalking, etc.
Studies show that 1 in 10 Indian adolescents face cyberbullying, half of which don’t even report it. And 7 out of these 10 are below the age of 18.
What is the effect of cyber-bullying?
With classes too having moved to online teaching platforms, the students are spending more time online, for both classes and entertainment purposes. Hence, there seems to be a 70% increase in hate speech and a 40% increase in online toxicity among various platforms. And the victims are most affected by psychological problems such as depression, stress, anxiety, loneliness, low self-esteem, social exclusion, phobias, quarrels/ fights, suicidal thoughts, etc.
Measures against it
Here are a few measures that you can take to help safeguard yourself:
What can we do?
Bullying can affect each one differently. It has the ability to impact mentally, emotionally, or even physically (lack of sleep, loss of appetite, headaches, and such).
So the first thing that one should do is to strengthen themselves mentally to not get perturbed. They need to know that no matter what the bully says it doesn’t define them in any way. You have to toughen yourself enough to take a stand. And/ or, don’t hesitate to share it with those you trust and take their help. Report the bully and avenge yourself and help those who might be facing the same fate.
If you witness bullying:
Most of us, if not experienced, do witness cyber-bullying every other day. Here’s what you can do:
The least is to not take part in it. Do not forward or share it ahead.
Check on the bullied, reassure them by saying something kind, and raise their morale if you could.
If you can, take a stand against the bully, and let them know that what they are doing is wrong!
Cyber-bullying on Online teaching platforms
In the present day, with the growth of online teaching, the occurrence of cyberbullying has increased ten-fold. Bullying is something schools and colleges have witnessed for years, and with the institutes shifting to the digital world, sadly bullying took a shift too. However this has made it even more difficult as via this platform, the bully is faceless!
On the online platforms, some of the most common ways that cyber-bullying is recorded to have been done are by hacking and over-taking the class, as the tutors too have limited knowledge of the online teaching sites. Furthermore, dropping mean comments in the chat-box, getting hold of students’ personal information to bother them by other means, etc are other instances.
And this has become another reason for worry and distress for students and parents alike to trust and move to live classes online.
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