Many of us have encountered a bully or two at some stage of our lives. It might have been when we were kids or grown-ups, some people tend to present their dominance in a specific way, which can lead to bullying and harassment. It is hard to even contemplate what the origins of bullying are or what lead to this phenomenon development. However, it becomes clear that the changing environment, our day to day customs and overall innovations have had a consequential impact on bullying and harassment. Essential innovative software and hardware technologies such as the Internet, direct messaging, real time face-to-face video calls and other, incrementally impacted the communication and interaction process between individuals. Nonetheless, whilst our communication methods keep growing, new ways of bullying and harassment are taking big blows both to our personal and professional lives.
Cyberbullying is directly linked with the introduction of innovative technologies, which allowed us new ways of direct and indirect interaction and communication. The term cyberbullying, although most of us have already heard it more than once over the news, is more commonly used not only by parents worrying about their children but also in the workplace environment by both employees and employers.
In essence, cyberbullying is an action of harming, insulting or harassing another human being through the electronic and information technology in an intentional and conscious manner. Cyberbullying is commonly used throughout electronic devices such as desktop computers, laptops, tables and mobile phones. More so, most of all current online communication tools are prone to cyberbullying attacks like social media websites and platforms, forums and chat rooms, text messaging applications, live feed text or video applications and multiple websites which interactive communication sections within.
Although bullying and cyberbullying are closely similar, by the negative intentions or purpose of use, there are several major differences between these two. One of the most common reasons why cyberbullying is becoming more popular – anonymity. While online, people can create fake profiles or add false information about themselves, thus masking ones identity or stealing an identity of another individual. More so, because cyberbullying travels via informational technology, it can reach a vast audience in a matter of minutes. Therefore cyberbullying can be aimed at a whole community or a group rather than one individual.
Due to ever changing technologies the types of cyber bullying are adapting and broadening accordingly. All of the cyberbullying types can be summed up as a repeated behaviour using information technologies with intent to hurt and harm another human being. Currently an individual online can fall a victim of harassment, stalking, mocking, intentional exclusion (intently excluding an individual from an online society or group), denigration (falsely spreading accusing rumours to damage and individuals’ image and reputation), direct insults, disclosure (share personal or sensitive information without ones’ consent), impersonating or mimicking, and other harming behaviours.
One of the most common issues that prevents us with coping or dealing with cyberbullying is the level of knowledge and understanding we encompass. Individuals need to understand that cyberbullying is directly linked with bullying and harrasment, hence it carries out the same real life issues. Some people tend to not recognize the problem at hand, either looking the other way or pretending it is nothing serious.
This inherently leads to people who are experiencing cyberbullying either at work or in their personal life to keep it to themselves and not seek help. However, it is important not to be afraid and reach out to someone who can help you.
If you are cyberbullied and harassed in the workplace, talk to your HR department. Do not let it be a reoccurring problem.
If you are cyberbullied in school or college, talk to your teachers and lecturers. Reach out to the help centre in your educational facility and, most importantly, speak up at home. Include your family members, they will help you cope with the process.
You can take steps to prevent from falling a victim of cyberbullying:
Try not to communicate, chat, and accept friend requests from people you are not familiar with.
Do not share any personal, private and sensitive information online
Educate yourself, your children and others of the danger of cyberbullying
Do not engage or respond to any abusive emails, texts or comments.
If you fall a victim to cyberbullying, it is important, as mentioned previously above, to reach out and seek help. Furthermore, keep all the emails, texts or comments as evidence. Currently it is becoming harder to delete anything sent on the internet. If you wish to seek legal help, you will need the actual provocative correspondence and threats of harm.