The world has developed and is now filled with different types of technology that help people around the world stay connected.
But cyberbullying sometimes has a negative effect of that and can have consequences.
“Cyberbullying” is when an individual is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another person, using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones, according to Don’t Stand By, Stand Up, the first cyberbullying prevention program in North America.
Cyberbullying is usually not a one-time communication, unless it involves a death threat or a credible threat of serious bodily harm.
“Bullying is basically a power to exchange between two people. So I’m taking away your sense of power to control by manipulating or by saying straight forward things to you that degrade you as a person,” says Heather Bickle, an outreach worker at Mental Health Services in Campus Health Centre.
A survey Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance Survey conducted in 2011 by StopBullying.gov, an organization that provides information to the government about cyberbullying showed that 16 per cent of U.S students in grades 9-12 were cyberbullied in the past year. A nationwide anti-bullying charity based in England conducted a survey in 2013 and found that 7 in 10 people are victims of cyberbullying.
It also stated that 54 per cent of young people using Facebook reported that they have experienced cyberbullying. Facebook and Twitter found to be the most likely sources of cyberbullying. With access to so many tools that could potentially do harm, safety is a concern.
The effects of cyberbullying may not be noticeable at first, but the stress builds on over time. Individuals have taken their own lives because they felt pressured, embarrassed and felt they had no reason to face the world.
Education can help in preventing and dealing with the effects of cyberbullying. Bickle says Durham and UOIT should create a group that helps students face cyberbullying by teaching them cyber ethics and laws. They can also try and be a helping hand to protect their students against cyberbullying beyond school boundaries.
She says cyberbullying doesn’t hurt a person but it directs to hurt other people.
“Is it worth hurting someone else?” questions Bickle.
Individuals who experience cyberbullying should talk to a person and take help.
“The people who have been bullied should know their worth. They should motivate themselves by taking their time off by doing something they like,” says Bickle. She says that if a person likes to paint then they should paint. It’s a way to turn negative energy to positive.