Cyberbullying is one of the dangers that minors face in the use of the internet.
This type of digital harassment plunges its victims into a state of despair and sadness that is difficult to manage, given its persistent nature and the age of the aggrieved.
Given the seriousness of the situation, it is imperative to implement actions to prevent and stop digital harassment.
At Smowltech, we are aware of this social issue, so in this article, we will delve into what cyberbullying is, how you can prevent it, and what its consequences are.
What is cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is repeated, deliberate, and sustained harassment carried out on the internet or through digital means towards a minor by one or more people of similar age.
It is a form of cyberbullying that, at times, may manifest as an extension of bullying in schools, although this is not always the case.
Despite the absence of physical violence, the psychological violence inflicted on children and adolescents who experience it can be devastating.
Perpetrators use various means, including social media, websites, messaging applications, etc.
Similarly, this digital harassment takes various forms. We share with you the most common forms, although it should be noted that others may exist:
- Ridiculing the victim’s image.
- Circulating false rumors with a harmful intent.
- Exclusion from groups where common peers are present.
- Mass sending of messages to the victims’ profiles.
- Threats that extend to the family members or pets.
- Identity theft of the harassed person to carry out compromising actions.
One characteristic of the aggressors, in addition to generally being in the age range of the victim, is that they are individuals familiar with Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs).
Types of cyberbullying
There are different types of cyberbullying in which bullies or perpetrators seek to harm another person through insults, threats, humiliations, dissemination of damaging information, etc. Here are some of the most commonly employed:
Involves following the victim in all their online activities, emulating the physical tracking that could be done in person. This practice can escalate to physical tracking through geolocation.
Involves revealing a person’s private information without their consent with the intention of humiliating them or damaging their reputation.
Is the harassment through the sending of hurtful or threatening messages in an organized and sustained manner on social media, by email, or through instant messaging applications.
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Involves using digital channels on behalf of another person to post inappropriate content that compromises or jeopardizes their reputation.
Sexting in the context of cyberbullying can arise from revenge by someone who has had access to erotic or sexual images or videos of a person. This content is sent to third parties without the victim’s consent.
How to prevent cyberbullying?
The best prevention is always to apply the precautionary principle, closely related to digital hygiene.
This approach to interacting with the digital world allows you to protect your identity from malicious intentions, as we will see throughout this section.
Digital hygiene measures to prevent it
Digital hygiene can become a great ally for internet security.
It includes a series of measures and resources that help protect your privacy and prevent attacks on your digital identity.
These violations can expose you to identity theft, theft of confidential data, images, videos, etc., and all kinds of material that can be used against you.
Some recommendations you can apply include:
- Install multi-factor authentication using biometric data on all your devices, applications, etc.
- Privatize your social media profiles and restrict your photos in social groups.
- Choose secure passwords for your programs that cannot be deduced or guessed by anyone.
- Avoid posting personal or compromising information on social networks or sending it to anyone privately.
Skills to combat cyberbullying
Cyberbullying can be combated by fostering the development of soft skills.
For example, empathy helps to be aware of the harm that can be caused to a person, as well as to understand the devastating effects of cyberbullying.
Reinforcing the self-esteem of individuals is crucial. While it is true that bullying damages the victim’s self-esteem, the perpetrator often tries to hide their lack of self-esteem by targeting other people in search of approval from an audience that applauds them.
Critical thinking is another strategic skill that also applies to bystanders who must be able to reject harassment as something normal, desirable, or admirable.
In any case, and this is crucial, remember that it is essential to communicate any bullying situation to family members, teachers, and individuals with sufficient authority to prevent it from continuing and worsening.
Effects of cyberbullying
The effects of cyberbullying destabilize the lives and relationships of victims.
Keep in mind that the internet is a powerful tool that can operate 24 hours a day and through which harmful messages can easily spread to other people.
Thus, the minor who is the target of this harassment may isolate themselves from their surroundings, become irritable, and sink into deep sadness.
They may also experience sleep, eating disorders, or even psychosomatic conditions, all with long-term effects.
Remember that cyberbullying of minors can occur in any digital environment, even in the context of online education.
Request a free demo with us, and we will explain practically how we can help you protect users on your digital platforms.
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