Gen Z, the newest generation that is experiencing rapid development in the digital sphere and technology. Due to a recurring and insanely quick evolution, technology is not only being used for entertainment and rejuvenation but also for the degradation of mankind. Cyberbullying comes into the picture when one is threatened or demoralized through the internet. Cyberbullying or cyberharassment is bullying through electronic means. This is also known as online bullying. Many new crimes are taking form as the technology keeps advancing. We might have seen our fellow students or peers being bullied when we study. It might be because of appearance, behavior, religion, race, or gender identity. There are several types of bullying like physical bullying, verbal bullying, psychological bullying, and cyberbullying.
The measure of cyberbullying is undetermined. There is no harm to say that all high-school students are prone to cyberbullying. Studies show that girls are more vulnerable than boys. The kids who stand out experience bullying more than an average individual. Almost all current generation individuals who are disabled, LGBTQ, and obese in their childhood admit that they experienced bullying more than once. Cyberbullying can happen anywhere where people can connect.
Is cyberbullying as serious as it seems to be?
Did you know that India had the highest number of cyberbullying cases in 2018? Over 37% of Indian parents have admitted that their children have been victims of cyberbullying at least once, which is 5% more than in 2016. The U.S stands in the third position where the parents have reported their children being bullied online. Russia, Japan, Chile, and France are the countries where parents reported the least. Sending rude messages, passing awful comments, or spreading rumors is the most common kind of cyberbullying.
Cyberbullying is continuous. Like offline bullying, it does not end at the end when you walk out of the situation. Most of the children have access to gadgets 24/7. Hence, there is no relief from online harassment. Also unless you report it, it exists forever on the platform because of which you tend to lose jobs, prevent the chances of getting into a college or something even worse. Cyberbullying is difficult to identify by the guardians or the child himself. By the time of recognition, there is a chance of an overwhelmed child due to the trauma.
The consequences of cyberbullying are the worsening of mental health, social interactions, and self-esteem. It might affect each individual in a different way. People experiencing cyberbullying may undergo physical, emotional, and psychological stress. One of the most noticeable aspects is the education of the victim. They might not feel like going to school and find trouble concentrating at work and tend to keep themselves away from people and often feel frustrated, annoyed, and anxious. They can be triggered easily.
The usual mentality of a teenager is to not show much interest in discussing about what’s going on in their life. This might be due to uncertain mindsets, fear of rejection or being shameful about themselves. It is difficult for parents or guardians to figure out what their ward is upto. But if you notice the following in your child, you can doubt cyberbullying.
- Suddenly stops using his/her device
- Appears uneasy when on the device
- Doesn’t want to leave the house or go to school
- Avoids talking about his/her online activities
- Wants to be with family members more than his/her peers
Make sure your child knows the following tips to acknowledge cyberbullying. The better equipped your child is, the less vulnerable they can get.
Do not respond
When you receive a threat or a mean comment, you find yourself in a splurge of anger and helplessness. You feel like giving it back to the person on the other side of the line. Make yourself sit comfortably and evaluate the situation. Stop keeping them engaged. The best thing you could do for yourself is to cut this off. Remember that your reaction is their ammunition.
Record the evidence
Make sure that you keep the proof of their bully presentable and safe. You can use it at your defence when the situation runs out of the hands.
Report it online
If the person can harass you, he can harass anyone. The other one might be your beloved ones or a stranger. Pain is pain for everyone. Although, the algorithm of each platform is different.
Talk it out to a trusted adult
Talking about any issue that bothers you which leaves you relaxing and less anxious. The problem which you are facing might be too much for a kid to handle and needs adult supervision for proceeding forward.
Responding to online bullying
Take your child seriously
Listen to your child and look at the possibilities of the event. The key is to have a proper contemplation of the event.
Tell the school
Go to the school and have a chat with the authorities about the issue. Make sure that the organization notices it and takes legitimate action.
It’s not your child’s fault
Being bullied is not the child’s fault. Support them and acknowledge what they feel. Be the child’s support system.
If the bullying involves in sensitive content like physical threats, pornography; inform the police and let them control the situation.
Learn cyberbullying laws. Know what one ethically can and cannot do on the internet. Knowing law can help you to know whether everything is going right. In some situations, it helps you to sue the cyberbully and their parents in civil court.
Dealing with the bully
It’s hard to not respond to a child when you know that they are active in harassing others. Stay calm and help your child doing his/her best to take off all the negative content from their mind and also from the internet. Ask them to apologize for posting the malicious content online and justify that it’s untrue.
If you and your child are dealing with cyberbullying, there are several resources that help you stand against it.
A dynamic and mixed team of cybersecurity experts, cybercrime investigators, counselors, psychologists, and cyber lawyers are here to help the victims and also to make others aware that cyberbullying is not at a cool thing.