What is Cyberbullying?

Online socializing has both good and bad sides to it. While it has opened a whole new dimension of ways to communicate and has added convenience to our lifestyles, it unfortunately has some unpleasant effects too.

Cyberbullying is one example that has had devastating outcomes on our youth. It uses online communication to abuse or degrade someone. It’s a crime that doesn’t restrict itself to the playground. With advancements in technology, cyberbullying has gained notoriety over the years.

Unlike bullying, cyberbullying doesn’t require physical strength or a face-to-face meeting. Anyone with an Internet connection and a device can be a cyberbully. There are no specific hours, and it can happen 24/7. Since a lot of platforms don’t make an effort to verify that people are who they say they are, the cyberbully can choose an alias and remain anonymous.

The main targets of cyberbullying are children, which makes this problem a priority for adults and school officials to solve. In the face of traumatic experiences, the mind of a child can be deeply impacted, and those experiences can leave lifelong scars. Children have difficulty knowing how to respond when they are harassed and, when they do react; they often don’t completely understand the consequences of their actions. Cyberbullying has left many of our youth depressed, withdrawn and in some cases it has led the victim to commit suicide.

There are many different types of cyberbullying out there. Here is a list of terms that define the different types of cyberbullying:

1.    Outing

Outing is a deliberate act to embarrass or publicly humiliate an individual by posting their private, sensitive or embarrassing information online. The information revealed can be insignificant or serious, but can have a severe impact on the victim.

2.    Fraping

Fraping is serious offense where a person accesses the victim’s social media account and impersonates them in an attempt to be funny or to ruin their reputation. Fraping can have serious consequences, especially because once something is out there, it is very hard to delete it and mend the victim’s digital reputation.

3.    Dissing

Dissing is when people share or post cruel information about your child online to ruin their reputation or friendships with others. This includes posting personal photos, videos and screenshots. The person sharing this information will usually be a friend or acquaintance of the victim.

4.    Trolling

Trolling is a form of cyberbullying done by insulting an individual online to provoke them enough to get a response. Usually these attacks are personal and instigate anger in the victim, making them lash out and behave badly.

5.    Trickery

Trickery is the act of gaining your child’s trust so that they reveal their secrets or embarrassing information, which the cyberbully posts on the Internet for everyone to see. The person pretends to be a close friend and confidant and gives the child a false sense of security before breaking his/her trust.

One of the first things parents must do when their child is being cyberbullied is stay aware and calm. Research shows that a large percentage of children do not like to tell their parents when they are being cyberbullied because they are afraid that they will lose their Internet privileges. Talk to your children about cyberbullying. Let them know cyberbullying is common. Teach them the basics of online security and stay connected with them daily and digitally.

Other options to keep children safe online is to install a reliable security system on all the devices they access. Norton Family Premier lets your kids explore the web freely while keeping you in the know about which sites they visit. It comes with tools that block unsuitable content for kids and can give you insight into your child’s social media activity when they log in to Facebook from their PC. The security system also prevents your child from accidentally giving out sensitive personal information from their computer. This includes phone numbers, address, email and the school they attend. It also alerts you when your child attempts to visit a blocked site. You can also keep a tab on the texts they send and receive. You can get all this information on your Android mobile device, so that you can stay aware of your child’s activities while you are on the go.

Cyberbullying, like any other problem, will take time to solve. But when handled calmly, there is always a solution.