INTERNET SAFETY. FACTS ABOUT CYBER BULLYING, WHAT IS BULLYING? HOW TO STOP KIDS BULLYING NOW
The Real Causes of Cyberbullying and How to Prevent It
Society has evolved in so many ways and yet stayed the same in many others. Only the methods have changed. Cyberbullying has been around for a while now, but people have just recently begun realizing that the problem needs to be addressed. Let’s look at some of the causes behind cyberbullying and how everyone can do their part to prevent it.
There’s a common misconception that it’s only children that suffer from cyberbullying. Of course, the issue does affect them. It’s made worse by how hard it is for parents to keep up with what their children are doing online. But cyberbullying is an issue that can affect anyone and does affect people of any age from all over the world.
The reasons why people decide to bully others online are varied, but this article aims to identify some of the most common factors. It also gives advice for both parents and individuals on how to fight the epidemic and keep their children and themselves safe.
The main offenders
It’s important to identify the platforms that enable cyberbullies to thrive.
Technology is marvellous, but unfortunately, it also leaves some gaps where specific deviant behaviour worms its way through.
How do cyberbullies target their victims?
A factor that exacerbates the problem is how easy it is to find and contact anyone through social media. Young children have unprecedented access to a wealth of information and millions of people online. This is dangerous, because, usually, children have to cope with bullying at school, but now it follows them home. Plus, it’s not just other children that target them anymore.
The main offenders are social media pages, instant messaging and direct messaging apps, and forums. Of course, these platforms almost always have rules of conduct in place, but they can’t monitor every conversation. Privacy is also an issue, so usually, if someone doesn’t get reported, they get away with it.
The internet has given people unique access to each other’s lives and can take over if people let it.
What motivates cyberbullies?
A lack of empathy
Technology enables people to distance themselves from a situation even while they are in it. Cyberbullies cannot see the pain they cause and thus cannot imagine the turmoil they put their victims through. In fact, many cyberbullies who were ousted and questioned after the fact said that the act made them feel funny and powerful.
Because they feel the victim deserves it
When it comes to school children bullying others, it is often rooted in perceptions of status. Insecurities are a major factor in bullying and pupils often try to put their peers down to feel superior.
This is true for adults, too.
It’s common for people to try and discredit or bully others based on a difference of opinion or a sense of superiority. Celebrities aren’t immune to this either. Not long ago, actress Kelly Marie Tran deleted her Instagram account after constant abuse by Star Wars fans.
Boredom becomes pain
There’s no denying that cyberbullies get a sort of kick out of targeting others online. After a while, it can almost become an addiction of sorts where they need a constant fix.
Anyone who’s ever been part of a Facebook or Twitter feud can attest to the fact that it’s too easy to get entangled. These platforms make it hard to ignore incoming messages. It’s easy to just type back a reply or keep logging on to re-read the messages.
Studies have found that there is a strong connection between previous victims and current cyberbullies. Much like violence in real life, virtual bullying is a perpetuating cycle of anger. Therefore, the problem continues to cycle and gets worse each time.
These aren’t the only reasons cyberbullies do what they do. But these are the more common reasons found among those who have investigated cases of cyberbullying.
Regardless of the reasons behind it, cyberbullying is a modern issue. It’s a result of modern technology, and the problem can only escalate further as technology keeps getting more advanced. How can it be stopped?
How to prevent cyberbullying
Cyberbullying is hard to identify because the conversation usually doesn’t take place in a public space. So teachers or others can’t become aware and intervene, meaning it’s up to the individual to do something about it most of the time.
The issue is, there’s a big stigma around the problem of cyberbullying. Whenever someone tries to bring it up (especially adults) people tend to lash back. Things like “get off the internet then” or “just don’t read it” are common. However, that ignores the problem and won’t alleviate its symptoms.
So is there a solution?
Simply put, no – there isn’t one fix-all solution. It will take a conscientious effort from people to fight cyberbullying and shut offending behaviour down.
According to CMO of NordVPN.solutions, Donnie A. Mitchell, for parents, it starts with educating their children on both the reasons why cyberbullying is bad as well as what to do if they’re targeted. This includes making sure they understand how cyberbullying affects others.
As a further precaution, parents can limit the number of websites or social media platforms their children have access to. There are various ways to do this, but the easiest way is to set up parental controls.
There are apps like Google Family Link or Qustodio. With these apps, parents can monitor their children’s mobile activity, limit usage, and block specific apps or websites.
Preventing cyberbullying as an adult is much harder, however. Because there’s really no controlling what other people do. But it’s still essential to address any bad behaviour. It’s also important to have systems in place that keep the cyberbullies in check. However, these systems do need to actually work.
Fighting cyberbullying will take hard work and a mind-shift in society at large. However, it’s essential to start the fight against toxic online behaviour now before it keeps escalating.
Technology is a big part of everyday life and cyberbullying shouldn’t become a regular part of it.
About the Author
Donnie A. Mitchell is a well-known writer in a cybersecurity field. He loves to write about tech and privacy-related issues.