Cyberbullying differs from traditional face-to-face bullying. It’s a particular issue, especially for the parents and teachers. Here are several unique concerns related to cyberbullying:
- It can be persistent: Since the bullies have 24/7 access to devices and the Internet, they don’t usually give relief to the victims. The bullied person cannot exit the negative social situation, even if they go home or switch schools.
- Leaves permanent record: Online content is public and permanent. It creates a public record accessible to all parties unless someone reports it or the bully removes it. And since anyone can see it, even strangers can add to more potential ridicule or pain.
- Harms the reputation of all involved: A public record is a form of online reputation, affecting all involved parties long-term. So, it can impact the participants in all areas of life.
- Anonymity: Online bullies usually hide their identities, so they have more courage to say harsh and cruel comments or even send threats.
- Really hard to notice: Cyberbullying is much more challenging to detect than traditional bullying. Most of all, this is because people don’t distinguish between harmful jokes and concerning behaviors, so they don’t pay much attention. Furthermore, parents and teachers might not see or overhear these conversations unless someone reports them.
Sure, cyberbullying differs from bullying. However, it can cause the same consequences, if not worse. The negative effects of cyberbullying might even be more durable and severe, as explained.
Resources on Bullying and Cyberbullying
Fortunately, many organizations worldwide understand the issue of cyberbullying and its consequences. Today, you go to a broad range of places to receive the needed support, help, and advice regarding cyberbullying.
You can download cyberbullying guides for expert advice on the Internet, on pages such as:
Keep in mind; this list is not complete. Of course, you can find many other helpful resources on cyberbullying on the web and in real life.
Laws and Sanctions
Overall, cyberbullying can cause embarrassment and humiliation. However, in some extreme scenarios, it can also turn into unlawful and criminal behavior.
Luckily, schools worldwide have responded to bullying in the form of law, local, or school policies.
Still, the laws on bullying and cyberbullying are relatively new phenomenons. Some countries have introduced them. Still, others have not yet.
In reality, most countries rely on other relevant laws, such as the ones fighting harassment. Furthermore, when cyberbullying is based on age, sex, color, race, national origin, disability, or religion, it can also overlap with discrimination, harassment, or hate crimes.
If a country has specific laws on cyberbullying, the authorities will classify online activities that deliberately cause serious emotional distress as criminal activities.
Furthermore, victims of cyberbullying have the right to report the offender and hold them accountable. The bullied individual can seek protection by law in some countries. At this point, the authorities can prohibit communication between the victim and offender. Also, they might temporarily or permanently restrict the bully from using electronic devices for cyberbullying.
Even so, laws and punishments have not always proven as the best alternative for preventing cyberbullying. In most cases, the better option is to repair the damage and improve the relationship between the involved parties.
Final Thought on Cyberbullying
Cyberbullying is a common and incredibly concerning phenomenon. It’s not limited to age, sex, race, or location. Anyone can just as easily become a victim or the bully itself.
It’s a complex issue that comes with many attached and unique challenges. It’s as difficult to detect and even more hard to resolve. Still, the consequences might be fatal. As mentioned, cyberbullying might even lead to suicide.
Victims of cyberbullying might feel enticed to leave the Internet and stay offline, at least for some time. However, that’s indeed not a long-term solution. Worse yet, it further encourages the bullies to pursue their harmful behaviors.
Today, we have the needed support to stop cyberbullying. If you are bullied, remember that reporting such behavior is the first step towards solving the problem. As for the rest, keep in mind, saying and sharing some content can hurt others.