The internet is an enormous space. It is basically a whole new world having everything that you can think of. For the most part, it’s good. But there is always the other side of the coin which we don’t talk about very often. One such critical problem that persists on the internet is cyberbullying. And today I will be talking about it.
But before I proceed any further, let me introduce myself. My name is Masum, a passionate blogger from Bangladesh (don’t know about this country? Google it). This is my first post on Renard’s World. I thank Renard for giving me the chance to contribute to his awesome blog. I feel really honoured to get this opportunity.
What Actually Is Cyberbullying?
We all know what bullying is. When someone abuses a person, behaves aggressively for no reason, or in extreme cases beats up – all of these falls under the definition of bullying. But these do not necessarily have to be in person. It’s possible to bully others from distance too, thanks to the easy availability of the internet and smartphones. And this is what we call cyberbullying.
But we need to be more careful while defining bullying, as it varies from person to person. What seems like a normal thing to you might be considered bullying from the perspective of a person with weaker resistance or a different race.
Let me explain. Suppose, someone on the internet is arguing with you for some reason, and out of nowhere uses some bad words. You are a strong person with a bold mentality. You might just ignore this person and be on your way. But consider the same happening with someone who gets upset very easily. Even the slightest abuse might hurt them. And thus from their perspective, THIS IS BULLYING.
This is why I think we need to modify the definition of cyberbullying. Let’s just say, any words, comments, messages or any such action that hurt another’s sentiment should be considered bullying. Things have to be considered from the receiver’s end. The effects of the action are what matters most, no matter how small the action was.
Role of Social Media
As I said before, most part of cyberbullying happens on social media. Recently a survey was conducted on 506 internet users where they were asked – “Where do you think cyberbullying mainly occurs?”. More than 23% of the participants answered Facebook, 21% Instagram, 10% Snapchat and 14% said Twitter.
These data reflect what we see in reality as well. I mean no one gets abused or bullied in email or in the WordPress comment section! On the other hand, most of the time you were abused, you will recall it was either in your Messenger, or Facebook comment section, or Twitter or other such social media platforms.
There is no denying that the high popularity of social media has contributed significantly to the rise of the bullying rate. But why?
- Firstly, social media are the places where you can interact with strangers from all over the world. And bully mostly comes from strangers.
- Secondly, in social media there are enough chances to remain completely anonymous. Thus anyone can actually bully others without revealing their identity. This highly encourages bullying, as they are almost sure that they won’t be punished for what they did.
- And thirdly, most social media users are teens and underaged. The majority of them are not matured enough to respect others. They don’t know how to behave. Thus trolling others for no valid reason is not unethical to them.
Having said these, there are other reasons as well behind the aggressive behaviour of humans on the internet. Even grown-ups sometimes behave irrationally when they get angry. Whatever be the reasons, it’s high time we raise our voice against this crime.
Yes, I called it a crime. Hindering the mental peace of a person is and should be considered a crime. And anyone who does this should be made known that what they did is NOT RIGHT!
What Can Be Done to Stop Cyberbullying?
While the bullies should be stopped and brought to justice, prevention is always better than cure. So what can you do to avoid being bullied in the first place?
- Well, you can make our social media accounts private, for a starter. This will stop others from impersonating you, make fake accounts and then harass you.
- Be careful what you share, how much you share, and with whom you share on the internet.
- Avoid connecting (accepting message requests, friend requests, etc.) with strangers on social media. At first, this might look like a harmless thing, but in the long run, it can and will come back at you.
- Don’t let the underaged members of your family use social media. In case they do, make sure to educate them properly. Teach them what is OK and what is not.
- Start the change with yourself. Think twice before you say something to others on the internet. Will your words hurt them? Is there any chance that the other person could be offended by you? Click the “send” button only when you’re sure that the answer to this question is “NO”.
Cyberbullying SHOULD NOT be tolerated, in any situation. It can only be fully stopped if we take action against it. So next time you see someone bullying anyone, speak up, report it! Individually it won’t be much, but when enough of us raise our voice against them, they will be forced to back off. Together we can make the internet a better place.
Finally, I would like to know about your experience with cyberbullying. Have you ever been bullied online? If yes, what were the impacts it had on you? Feel free to share your stories in the comment section. I would love to discuss it further.
If you have enjoyed this article, check out my other posts on my personal blog site Ulta Palta Blogs. Thank you for participating in the discussion.
About the guest author:
Masum is a multitalented gentleman from Bangladesh. He loves photography, sports, travelling and blogging.
Masum’s informative blog is called, Ulta Palta Blogs.