Cyber Bullying: Misuse of Information and Communications Technology

Cyber bullying is defined as misusing information technology to bring harm to or harass other individuals. Cyber bullying can come in many forms such as posting rude or negative words and rumors with the intent to publicly humiliate, embarrass, or make fun of them in public. With mobile technologies and the use of internet services increasing, cyber bullying is one of the main things that has become more frequent among teenagers, especially girls.

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Cyber bullying includes any kind of communications that want to do things such as control, harass, manipulate, wrongly discredit, or defame any individual. A cyber bully’s actions are always hostile, frequent, or intentional with the intention of ruining another person’s reputation. Most cyber bullying is done on social media platforms such as Instagram, forum sites, or other information sites like Twitch or Discord. A cyber bully can be anyone. They can be some online stranger, or it can even be someone the victim knows.

Statistics show that most cyber bullies are girls, while almost all victims of cyber bullying are girls. Nowadays, the majority of young people between the age of 12 to 18 spend most of their time on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. Sites like this pose many risks, which among them all, cyber bullying is the most common and spread out. Cyber bullies most often post very offensive videos and pictures which can be from the past or present, misleading information or rumors, or expose fake or real secrets about the victim on those sites to ruin their reputation. Activities related to cyber bullying are so harmful that some victims may even consider the possibly of committing suicide. There have been a number of cases all over the world that involve teenagers who committed suicide because of humiliation or mistreatment on the internet such as Amanda Todd. Cyber bullying brought her to commit suicide because of a boy that sent a picture of her breasts to all her peers. She moved cities and schools but they continued to bully her through social media.

There are may ways that any cyber bully that sends any kind of harassment, can be tracked by police with the help of the internet service providers and any necessary actions will be taken against the cyber bullies. All electronics messages carry information called ISPs that shows the path the message took to get to the victim’s computer or cellphone and those ISPs are used to track the cyber bully down. If someone becomes a cyber bully’s target, it’s important to not answer any posts or messages shared by him or her, regardless of it’s truthfulness or harmfulness. Responses to such posts can and will only worsen the situation entirely as cyber bullies mostly want to provoke any kind of reaction from their victim. Sending a threatening message back will only provoke the cyber bully to continue their cyber assault and may make the situation spiral out of all control. Over half of cyber bullying victims keep the bullying to themselves. Instead of replying to any malicious messages, DMs, or emails; save it as evidence of the cyber bullying and then report the cyber bully to concerned individuals such as family members or school counselors and the police so that the cyber bully can get charged and prosecuted.

Keeping the time, date, and messages from the cyber bully can also help determine how to confront the cyber bully. Any cyber bullying incident must be reported to parents, guardians, counsellors, or close friends. Parents or guardians should take these matters seriously and have the situation dealt with immediately. The activities of the cyber bully victim should be watched closely and the victim should be spoken to about their activities on their electronics and who they are speaking to. Cyber bully victims should be encouraged to inform someone if they receive any harassing messages or become a cyber bully target. Most cyber victims that are girls are targeted more often because most cyber bullying can come from a single selfie or Instagram story. The cyber bully can go onto their posts and comment things like ???That dress makes your look fat, ???Lose weight piggy, etc. This can really hurt a person as this is what they come to believe and think. It makes them unable to take certain compliments and praise from the people they know. This can be prevented by putting your Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook, etc on private and only accepting family members and close friends. It can also be prevented by not having social media at all.

I personally, do not use social media because of this reason. It’s much simpler to not use social media and get away from all of the unnecessary drama and rumors. There are other things that can be done to prevent cyber bullying like parental controls, but either putting your accounts on private or not using social media at all is the best way to keep yourself from becoming a cyber bullying victim altogether. Ultimately, cyberbullying is more serious that face to face bullying. Awareness is the key to preventing online harassment. Children and teenagers alike must be made aware about the consequences of sharing personal pictures, videos, or information online with friends or strangers. At schools, campaigns should be conducted at all schools along with programs to teach all students about the consequences of cyber bullying and prevent them from doing it or becoming a victim to it. Cyber bullying cannot be kept in the dark any longer and it is the responsibility of everyone to report any kind of cyber bullying to the authorities immediately so that the bully can be prosecuted by the law.

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