Cyberbullying is bullying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets. Cyberbullying can occur through SMS, Text, and apps, or online in social media, forums, or gaming where people can view, participate in, or share content. Cyberbullying includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful, false, or mean content about someone else. It can include sharing personal or private information about someone else causing embarrassment or humiliation. Some cyberbullying crosses the line into unlawful or criminal behavior.
The most common places where cyberbullying occurs are:
- Social Media, such as Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat
- Text messaging and messaging apps on mobile or tablet devices
- Instant messaging, direct messaging, and online chatting over the internet
- Online forums, chat rooms, and message boards, such as Reddit
- Online gaming communities
Different Types of Cyber Bullying
Parents and educators should be aware of the different types of cyberbullying, so they can adopt measures to prevent and confront it. Common forms of cyberbullying include:
- Doxing – publishing revealing personal information about an individual online, for purposes of humiliating, defaming, or harassing the victim
- Harassment – posting hurtful, threatening, or intimidating messages online, or sending them directly to someone, with the intention of harming that person
- Impersonation – creating fake accounts or gaining access to a person’s real social media accounts and posting things to damage the victim’s reputation
- Cyberstalking – tracking and monitoring a person’s online activity, and using the internet to stalk or harass an individual
How to Prevent Cyber Bullying?
As cyberbullying becomes more prevalent, it is increasingly important for parents and educators to take steps to prevent it. Here are some tips for adults to prevent cyberbullying:
1. Be aware of your child’s online activities
Children should not be allowed to browse the internet freely. Parents and teachers should monitor the sites that the children use and be cognizant of the apps they download and digital media they consume. Children should have their screen time limited, and be encouraged to engage more in offline activities
2. Watch for the following signs of cyberbullying in children:
- Refusal to allow you to see what they are doing online
- Avoidance of discussing what they are doing online
- Sudden, unexplained increase or decrease in online activity
- Deactivating social media accounts
- Emotional responses (including sadness, anger, happiness) linked to their device usage
Adults should also teach children to recognize and be aware of the signs of cyber bullying themselves. Children are often less aware of cyber bullying than adults. Make sure your children are aware of what cyber bullying is, and teach them that how to deal with it.