Cyber bullying : The issues and ways to prevent it

By Joe Morikawa-Phillips, Year 7

Cyber bullying is a relatively recent issue. It only occurred when mobiles, social media and email websites emerged (e.g. Gmail, yahoo.com…). Although these are useful tools for communicating and socializing online, there are various problems that accompany them, one of which, is cyber bullying.

What Exactly is Cyber Bullying?

Cyber bullying is simply bullying online. But there is more to this new type of bullying than first meets the eye. One of the most important things about cyber bullying is that, compared to traditional bullying, it has a greater effect on one’s emotions and there are various reasons to why this is.

Firstly, since cyber bullying is done through the internet, the victim can be bullied anywhere, anytime as long as they have a device on them.

It is harder for the bully to be found and seen. Unlike standard bullying, you cannot easily spot the culprit as you do not have a physical link to them. This makes it more complicated to put a sop to it.

It has a larger audience because anything that is said, or posted is not forgotten with time. On the contrary, since comments, messages and photographs put on the internet are permanently saved, they will slowly start circulating across the internet. It is also possible for a single person to create lots of fake accounts so that it looks like they are being bullied by lots of people.

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The main issues

Believe it or not, 43% of children and teenagers have been bullied online and one out of four of them have considered suicide. One of the major reasons that leads to this, is that not enough people are aware of the issue. A large number of parents allow their kids under thirteen (age limit for social networking sites) to use social media without considering the dangers of  cyber bullying and any other internet related problems.

The second reason for this is that a lot of children less than thirteen years of age secretly create accounts on sites such as Facebook without their parents knowing. This can quickly lead to cyber bullying if the child is not aware of internet safety.

The  final issue with cyber bullying is that, not only hard to spot, but many keep it to themselves. This can lead to depression, isolation and in the worst cases even lead to suicide.

Even though it may appear rather simple to admit to this bullying, it is actually, extremely difficult. So people tend to remain silent.

Ways to Prevent Cyber Bullying

The best way to prevent being a victim of cyber bullying is by turning the GPS off on your smartphone (unless necessary) and not posting images of yourself on the internet. As mentioned earlier, any images that have been posted on the internet are permanently saved even if you do delete them. For example, whatever image you may choose for your profile picture on Facebook will appear on Google images even after you have deleted it. As long as you keep all the above in mind you have a lower chance of being cyber bullied.

What to Do If You Get Cyber Bullied?

If you do get cyber bullied, what are your options?

The best way is to tell someone, block the contact (this can be irrelevant depending on what site you are getting cyber bullied on) and save any nasty text messages or emails that you receive since it helps track down whoever was harassing you. Although it is hard, telling someone really can help stop cyber bullying (same goes for traditional bullying).

Unforgettable Cyber Bullying Case: Amanda Todd

October 10th 2012, a 15 year old teenager named Amanda Todd committed suicide after several years of bullying and cyber bullying. This all started when a stranger she had met online demanded her to take a photograph of her breasts and send it to him. She did what he asked, but unfortunately, the photograph was posted online. Since making that mistake she was cyber bullied until the day she passed away. A month before her death, she posted an emotional video on YouTube explaining how she felt about being bullied using flashcards.

As long as the internet exists, cyber bullying will continue to be an issue. This is just as common in Switzerland as it is anywhere else, therefore it is best to always keep safety in mind when on online. The main thing to remember is that there are lots of solutions available should you ever get cyber bullied.

Disclaimer: The information presented in this article does not necessarily reflect the views or beliefs of The Update. We are reporting either the facts or opinions held by third parties related to the subject of the article.