The Perils of Cyberbullying and What Makes it Different

Cyberbullying is when someone bullies another online. With the openness of internet and the always-on connection of smartphones, cyberbullying has become a convenient and sometimes deadly way for abusers to inflict psychological damage with lasting effects. Using online methods, bullies are able to conduct hate speech, extortion, bribery, threats, peer pressure or harassment to taunt and control their victims. In this article, we will outline what makes cyberbullying different from face-to-face bullying.

The quickness of the attacks

Cyber bullying is different from bullying in person in that attacks are conducted much faster online. A face-to-face bully can only target one person at a time. Each victim is separate. With cyberbullying, an array of assaults is deployed towards a number of victims at the same time. A rumor, secret or threat is transmitted at the speed of light, with plenty of time to think of more ways to harass others. Passing notes and spreading lies becomes easier to do and more difficult to detect. Teenagers with smartphones are using a powerful platform for bullies to conduct attacks.

The distance and familiarity with social networking

A bully is more confident from behind a computer screen. Bullies can use social networking sites to have an emotional connection while still being physically distant. Most teenagers know the people they are friends with on social networking sites such as Facebook or Twitter. Victims of cyberbullies are taunted outside of the classroom by many people they know, and from miles apart.

The size of the audience

It is estimated that nearly 3 billion people use the internet. A cyberbully will expose something embarrassing about someone and display it all over the world for anyone to see. Videos, graphics and trends can go viral, and millions of people are able to become engaged in the same topic. What may seem to be harmless entertainment can destroy a person’s self-worth when thousands of people have negative and hurtful things to say.

The permanence

Another point to make about how cyberbullying is harmful is the permanence of things that are posted online. The internet makes things easy to duplicate and once something makes it online, it is usually there to stay. Online social networks and email accounts are breeding grounds for cyber-slambooks, which victims have a hard time getting rid of. Rumors, lies and harassment threaten a teen’s reputation, and a record of hurtful things can remain online for years for potentially anyone to view.

What parents can do

Parents are encouraged to understand as much as they can about cyberbullying so that they will be able to recognize it in their child’s life. There is a wide spectrum and a fine line of what some find offensive. The closer a parent is with their child, the easier it will be to identify what particular things are upsetting them. Parents are encouraged to connect with their children on social media in order to see what is going on online.

Parents do not need to comment on every little thing their children post online, but if the parents can see what is going on, they will be able to see if something is bothering their child and help them figure out the best way to deal with it. Monitoring software for iOS and Android devices is a great way for parents to keep track of any bullying activity so that they can quickly put a stop to nasty and ruinous cyberbully attacks.

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