At one point bullying used to be much different than what it is now. It used to take the form of shoving someone on the playground, picking someone last to be on your dodgeball team, or not making room at your table in the cafeteria. But in today’s world, bullying takes on a whole other level. Our rapidly advancing technologies allow bullying to be done anywhere, anytime, and by anyone – even anonymously. The effects of bullying can be devastating. Some bullies may think that once you’ve pressed delete everything will disappear, but the reality is, that harmful content is out there forever.
Although in-person classes have been suspended due to the global pandemic, bullying has continued to remain a common trend of abuse. Thanks to cellphones, computers, instant messaging and social media, children and even adults find it easy to attack one another in this digital age.
The threat cyberbullying poses now is even more worrisome for this particular generation of children who are stuck at home with FaceTime to talk to friends, Zoom to attend classes and TikTok for diversion. The ability to hide behind a screen has made it easy for people to become bullies.
According to a survey done by the Cyberbullying Research Center, 36.5% of students had been cyberbullied in their lifetime. The most common forms of bullying were mean or hurtful comments online (24.9%), rumors online (22.2%), and threats to hurt someone through cellphone texts (12.2%). The horrifying part of cyberbullying is that it is constant, remains permanent on the internet, and can have long lasting effects on victims.
Did you know 59% of teens have been bullied or harassed online? Many children who are victims of cyberbullying don’t tell anyone. Here are some warning signs of a child that may be being cyberbullied:
- Unexpectedly stops using their devices
- Appears nervous or jumpy when using their devices
- Appears uneasy about going to school or outside in general
- Appears to be angry, depressed, or frustrated after going online
- Is oversleeping or not sleeping enough
- Becomes abnormally withdrawn from friends and family members
- Shows an increase or decrease in eating
- Seems regularly depressed
- Makes passing statements about suicide or the meaninglessness of life
- Loses interest in things that matters most to them
- Avoids discussions about what they are doing online
- Frequently calls or texts from school requesting to go home ill
- Desires to spend much more time with parents rather than peers
- Becomes unusually secretive, especially when it comes to online activities
Being bullied can leave someone feeling depressed, helpless, afraid, ashamed and even suicidal. However, no type of bullying is ever acceptable, nor should it be tolerated. Stop Cyberbullying Day is a global campaign happening tomorrow, June 18, 2021, to promote awareness and celebrate diversity and inclusion online. This event brings together individuals, thought leaders, corporations, schools, governments, institutions, and organizations to protect our future global online community from threats, harassment, and abuse.
Here at Netsweeper, we believe in a world free of online bullying, harassment and child exploitation. Let’s come together as families, co-workers, and neighbors to take a stand against bullying and protect each other online and offline.
Stay tuned for our podcast episode coming out tomorrow! Umair, our Product Marketing Specialist, will be speaking with James Ryan from Bullying Canada to discuss cyberbullying so you can stay current and receive helpful advice and perspective on the topic. As we are digitally connected now more than ever, taking action and creating community change is crucial to raise awareness on this evolving issue and to inspire youth to stand up to bullying. For more information and best ways to approach cyberbullying, download our white paper to find out how you can mitigate risks and provide support.
For more blog posts related to cyberbullying, check these out:
- 5 Ways to Keep Your Child Safe Online
- The Top 3 Online Threats to Students and How to Keep Them Safe
- What are the Dangers of Social Media for Kids?
Submitted by: Natasha Pande