occur when a child or a teenager is threatened, tormented,humiliated, harassed or targeted by another through the internet,interactive and digital media or mobile phones. basically involve minors at as the target and the bully or at leastbe instigated by a minor. Cases of cyberbullying have increased overthe years as technological development continues to flourish. Inparticular the social media domain has grown significantly in thepast decade, making the internet and devices supporting internetincluding Smartphone, PCs, laptops, iPads, Tablets and other gadgetsbeing misused by children to torment others. can takemany forms including sending harsh messages, pictures or videos toothers or to spread propaganda through phones or computers. Childrenhas also gone to an extent of creating web pages or blogs that theyuse to upload images or videos that are meant to be private. Insocial media platform such as Facebook, other viewers can comment,exacerbating the impact of humiliation to the victim. The extent ofcyberbullying is rampant with about 20 percent of students agedbetween 11-18 years experience cyberbullying in the United Statesaccording to a study conducted in 2010 by Hinduja& Patchin (1). has become a serious issue that can be harmful andsometimes even fatal. In order to discontinue the problem, needs to be addressed, schools need to get involved,and legislation needs to be put into effect.
is a major problem affecting millions of children across the globe.Despite being conducted through technology, cyberbullying havedevastating effects as the impact reaches the real world. It makes avictim feel depressed, angry, sad and frustrated. However, childrenwho are bullied may not realize that what is happening to them isactually bully. As such, they may not be able to open up or discussit with people who can help them. They perceive that others will notunderstand them, particularly parents or teachers. The result ofcyberbullying are as detrimental as child can become depressed andeventually have low self esteem, and some may end up committingsuicide or harming themselves or others.
Unlikein traditional bullying, victims of cyberbullying usually do not knowthe bully or the reason why they are being targeted. The bully cancamouflage their identity by using anonymous emails, social mediaaccounts and even pseudonymous online names. In addition, the effectsof cyberbullying are usually viral with a large number of peopleacross the globe getting to know about the incidence by just a clickof the mouse. is easily inflicted as the perpetratorcan accomplish it from a geographically distant location, and thereis no instant or face to face interaction to see the reaction.Finally, most parents and guardians are not conversant with emergingtechnologies and worse still do not know what cyberbullying is allabout, which leave kids unattended (Hinduja& Patchin 2).
Addressingthe issue of cyberbullying has not been an easy task. First parentsthink that there are other serious issues facing their children thatthey need to address more than monitoring their children behavioronline. Secondly, parents may not have the technological knowhow tounderstand what is happening to their children (Hinduja& Patchin 2).Finally but not least, although there exists certain laws thatcriminalize cyberbullying, most officers are not aware of them andare not able to act even when they become aware of such cases.
Consideringthe extent and the complexity of the issue of cyberbullying, there isneed for stakeholders including children, parents, teachers andauthorities to work together to fight it. Schools can start byeducating children or sensitizing them about cyberbullying. Parentson the other hand need to educate their children at home from anearly age about appropriate use of the internet. In addition, aparent should be able to monitor his or her child’s behavior onlineand be open with them to discuss any issues that the child may behaving trouble or concern with. Encouraging children to report issuesconcerning cyberbullying is very important. Both school authoritiesand parents are an important component in fighting cyberbullying.However, the fight cannot be won without the involvement of lawenforcement agencies. Law enforcement agents must also be informedabout the larger issue of cyberbullying and how to assist kids facingsuch issues and apprehending perpetrators. Nevertheless, there isneed to formulate strong policies concerning cyberbullying. Childrenengaging in cyberbullying need to understand that it’s a crime andshould pay for it regardless. This will help in reducing incidencesof cyberbullying significantly. Ultimately, there is great need fortechnology designers to include safety measures to use of technologywhich can help users especially children to keep safe from onlinepredators. The only way that the war against cyberbullying can be wonis through integrative approach.
Conclusively,cyberbullying is a worrying global problem facing children and theyouth. With the increased usage of technology, and connectivity oftoday’s generation to the internet on a 24/7 basis, the problem isincreasingly becoming a concern. Parents, teachers, children and theauthorities must come together in order to fight this issue.
Hinduja,Sameer. & Patchin, W. Justin. Identification, Prevention, and Response. Research Center. 2011. Web. 27/04/2014.