What Does Cyber Bullying Mean? How to Close the Gates of Social Media Bullying Menace
Despite the fact that social media enables internet users to interact and have fun, there have been reports of bullying and teasing on these platforms.
Blowing out someone else’s candle doesn’t make yours shine any brighter.
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What is social media bullying? Social media bullying is the use of electronic technology to embarrass, harass, and threaten or socially excluding others (Nidirect Government Services, 2013).
Bitter Sweet Pill of Internet Safety
Online social networks are platforms for chatting with internet users. They enable you, the user, to create a profile, leave messages and comments, upload photos, music and videos, play games, and so on.
The common social networks include Pinterest, Facebook, MeWe, Twitter, YouTube, friend feed, WhatsApp, Flickr, Instagram, and many more. In addition to the above, online gaming sites, review and rating sites, dating sites, and website forums are also part of the medium for sharing information on the internet.
However, users have reportedly expressed outrage at the level of tolerance for these mainstream social media platforms, citing that social media affects body image, bullying, and mental health.
In what ways can internet bullying menace halt to a stop?
9 Ways of Bullying On Social Media Platforms
Which of the following types of bullying by social media have you experienced? Do you know someone who has gone through any of them?
Let’s reference them.
Social media bullying involves the following:
Posting of abusive messages on your wall
Forwarding embarrassing information or images about you online
Insulting and mocking you
Rating your appearance, intelligence or character
Commenting rudely on your uploaded pictures
Uploading provocative pictures and videos on a profile of a favorite social media platform
Making fun of the others (Family Lives, 2013, p. 6)
Stealing or faking your identity
Sending abusive messages to others
Threatening you physically (Knighton, et al., 2011, p. 6).
Thinking About Social Media Bullying? Reasons Why It’s Time To Stop
How does social media affect bullying? Bullying in social media is a distressing, heterogeneous, and multifaceted phenomenon.
Victims and Perpetrators
When someone picks on, harasses, intimidates, threatens or humiliates a particular another – including children – repeatedly, with the intent to harass, that is cyberbullying, similar to real-world bullying.
According to Knighton, et al. (2011), the victims of social media bullying are people of any age, with those at the highest risk being at the age of 12-14. Notwithstanding, the research also shows that girls are more at risk than boys.
The perpetrators are youths who are non-aggressive. The irony is that the technology of the Internet Age (IoT) provides a sense of safety and distance from a victim, but aggravates the effects of bullying by giving perpetrators anonymity and the ability to reach a wider audience.
Older people are not an exemption. There is a percentage of older persons involved in bullying too. However, this becomes cyber harassment and cyberstalking – a crime that has legal consequences including jail time.
Warning! Cyberbullying on social media
The mental health and the well-being of the victim are damaged by any form of social media bullying. The victim is also affected at a social and emotional level through insults and mocking.
Furthermore, uploading of provocative photos through the media builds up an emotional toll on the victim. Subsequently, it leads to poor performance in school (Family Lives, 2013, p. 1). The friends too who join the bandwagon to mimic the victim openly embarrass them.
Bullying victims are 9 times more likely to commit suicide. A keyboard away doesn’t make it okay.
The psychological effect may lead to self-rejection. On top of that, there is a risk of suicidal ideation – due to social anxiety and stress. This is because one is bullied across multiple platforms or domains on the Internet – and the World Wide Web at large.
A victim of social media bullying:
Loses self-confidence and self-esteem (Australian Federal Police, 2004)
In worst-case scenarios, some of those who are bullied online have been reported to make the decision to revenge on the perpetrator.
Striking and significant social media bullying statistics
Statistics show most cases of cyber harassment take place on popular social media sites. 85% of today’s teens use social media and 60% report experiencing some sort of cyberbullying. The resultant effect of increasing use of social media by children is exposure to various forms of bullying, online and offline.
19.2% of parents report that bullying occurs through social media, in addition to bullying in school. This has increased the likelihood of children being perpetrators or victims, with multiple negative effects like mental health issues, poor academic performance, a desire to drop out of school, and suicidal thoughts. Note that suicide rate among teenage girls ages 15 to 19 hit a 40-year-high in 2015
What Can You Do About Social Media Bullying Right Now?
You should make the stern decision to either block or delete your online friends who bully you.
How about rejecting the friend requests of unknown people who may be potential bullies?
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There are online privacy settings that allow you as a user of some of the social platforms online to control who sees and posts on your profiles. This ensures that your posts, comments, photos, and documents are protected from external interference.
Step by step action to intervene in social media and bullying
In case of a fake online identity, you should report it to the social network customer service as soon as possible. The customer service mandate is to initiate investigations and in due time start a chain of actions that lead to either a shadowban or complete deletion of the profile.
Never be bullied into silence. Never allow yourself to be made a victim.
To help the security authorities with fair investigations, the ideal scenario would be for you to keep and save any bullying emails or images, Alternatively, take screenshots of any threatening comments. Do not forget to note the time and the date when the message or image was sent to you.
You are encouraged to change your online user identity or password upon the realization of being bullied in any way on any platform on the Internet.
Stop replying to any bullying messages (Nidirect Government Services, 2013, p. 10). Just ignore them.
Nevertheless, report any cyberbullying to your social service provider, or law enforcers, or school, or to your parents, caregivers. and adults (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2012, p. 1).
Social media bullying quotes to spread right now
“If you’re insulting people on the internet, you must be ugly on the inside.”
― Phil Lester
“Checking in on what our kids are doing online isn’t helicoptering, it’s parenting.”
― Galit Breen
Cyber bullies can hide behind a mask of anonymity online and do not need direct physical access to their victims to do unimaginable harm.
– Anna Maria Chavez
Cyber-bullying is poised to turn into the biggest online concern, already affecting up to 35% of all children.
Dr Martyn Wild
Quotes about bullying on social media
How you too can say NO to social media bullying
Social media bullying remains a significant problem worldwide, and to a great extent among the younger generation.
Due to the general popularity of social media sites, young people can not keep away. They are exposed to cyberbullying in a magnitude that NO social platform has admitted – yet.
The effects of social media bullying can be harmful, painful, and devastating.
Different forms of oppression such as racism, sexism, and homophobia as well as harassment intersect with social media bullying to create disturbing experiences.
If you experience or witness social media bullying of any manner, reach out.
It is the responsibility of each adult to ensure that young children have a safe place to turn to for help.
In conclusion, educate everyone about cyberbullying issues. However, wouldn’t be awesome if clear guidelines on this giant cyber bullying debacle are developed? More so with transparent public participation? (Family Lives, 2013).
What About You? Are You Fighting Against Social Media Bullying (The Samurai Way)?
Is there a chance that there is something very important about social media bullying that we may have left out? Let us know so that we include it in this blog post on being advocates for social media bullying.
What was your most recent encounter with trolls and stalkers on social media? How did you respond?
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- Australian Federal Police, 2004. Cyber-Bullying. AFP, p. 1.
- Bullying Statistics – https://www.pacer.org/bullying/resources/stats.asp
- Social Networks Bullying – https://www.bullying.co.uk/cyberbullying/what-to-do-if-you-re-being-bullied-on-a-social-network/
- Family Lives, 2013. Bullying UK. – http://www.bullying.co.uk/cyberbullying/what-is-cyberbullying/
- Knighton, L., Alisa, S. & Janice, K., 2011. Cyberbullying: Reality Check. Kids Help Phone: Research Update, pp. 6-15.
- Larissa Hirsch Cyberbullying (for Parents) – https://kidshealth.org/en/parents/cyberbullying.html
- U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2012. Report Cyberbullying. – http://www.stopbullying.gov/cyberbullying/how-to-report/
- 11 Facts About Cyber Bullying – https://www.dosomething.org/us/facts/11-facts-about-cyber-bullying
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