In this world of high technology, with all our needs being met at the touch of a button, it is easy to bask in the glory of many wonderful achievements - and quite rightly so - however, when it comes to Cyber Bullying, our world of technology has made it possible to give this despicable pastime an arena all of its own.
Cyber Bullying takes place online and has many forums, such as: blogs, e-mails, chat lines and social networking sites, to name a few. Cyber Bullying comes in many guises, feeding on a cocktail of hurt, stress, isolation, humiliation, fear and sadly in some cases can cause death. Usually it takes the form of:
• Abusive messages on-line
• Spreading rumours about the victim
• Prank texts/messages
• Humiliating or embarrassing posts or blogs
• Sexual videos/pictures being sent to others
This type of bullying is anonymous and as a result there is less accountability by the bully, resulting in the bullying being more intensive, reaching high levels of malicious behaviour with far reaching effects. It is usually 24/7, giving it a wider audience in its relentless pursuit of the victim.
Research has shown that Cyber Bullies do not fit the mould of the traditional bully, who is usually domineering, aggressive and disliked. Very often the Cyber Bully can be a classmate or friend, who may bully for the following reasons:
• Peer acceptance
The world of the Cyber Bully has a non-stop agenda, with high frequency levels of abuse over a short period of time (usually one month or less), however the results of such intensive bullying can last a lifetime, robbing the victim of ever reaching their full potential as it is very difficult, without therapy, to move on from how this abuse makes you feel.
In order to identify this behaviour, firstly know what to look for:
• A barrage of hateful e-mails
• Embarrassing images of the victim
• Threatening verbal messages
• The creation of an almost identical screen name in order to create embarrassing situations for the victim
Once the behaviour has been identified, take the following action:
• Ask for help from a parent or teacher or someone you can trust
• Do not respond to the bully’s messages
• Do not threaten the bully
• Save the evidence and then block the bully
• Safe-proof all your personal accounts
• If you can prove who it is by the evidence then report the bully
• Cyber bullying is considered a crime if the following has taken place – hate related comments, intimidation or threats of violence – report any of this to the Police
I believe that what we do and say in life makes a difference - it’s up to us to decide what kind of difference we want to make. This poem sums up the feelings of those people who have been bullied – it speaks volumes:
A cool identity isn’t a need, Let those you bully be freed. Your identity should be your own, A better person you will be known.