No one can deny the negative upshots our technology brought as bullies nowadays dominate the internet. This is widely known as Cyberbullying. The issue, as it become more widespread in our society, particularly among the youths, had attracted serious concerns among individuals and groups who are seeking to fight against it. Learn about Cyberbullying in Ireland as a major concern!
Introduction to Cyberbullying in Ireland
Simply speaking, Cyberbullying is defined as the use of internet and other related technologies to harm, harass, intimidate, manipulate or humiliate others in an intentional, frequent and hostile manner (Wikipedia). This can also be in instant messages, emails, SMS or WebPages or through videos and photographs. Another simple definition is given by The National Crime Prevention Council which says that Cyber bullying is “when the internet, cell phones or other devices are used to send or post text or images intended to hurt or embarrass another person.” Yet what’s disturbing is what The Irish Times claims that experts say children as young as six are already being taunted on Facebook. This leads to the question “Who is being bullied?”
Youths being bullied
According to a survey of EU Kids Online in Ireland by Brian O’Neill and Thuy Dinh (2013), almost a quarter of 9-16 year olds surveyed had experienced some forms of bullying, online or offline. Frequent internet users who use Social Networking Sites like Facebook reported higher levels of bullying than those using the internet less. Only 29% of these children got their parents aware while 68% of parents didn’t even know that their child is a sufferer.
The most common way of Cyberbullying is by hurtful or nasty messages. It is also disturbing to know that nearly half of those victims online also have bullied others. This hints that bullying online is generally a reciprocal process where children both bully and are being bullied by others.
Impact of Cyberbullying in Ireland
The impact it brings to those being bullied is grave serious that some even commit suicide. One example of cyber bullying Ireland as reported by The Irish Examiner happened last October when Erin Gallagher, 15 from Co Donegal took her own life after suffering from online bullies. Her sister, Shannon also committed suicide few weeks later (www.irishexaminer.com/ireland). Back to the youths in Ireland, over half of the surveyed stated that they were very upset or fairly upset. Girls (32%) are more likely than boys (19%) to say that after being bullied. In contrast, nearly 1 in 5 teens aged 15-16 felt this way for a couple of months (EU Kids Online).
In the same aforementioned survey, some teenagers offered explanations for the prominence of cyber bullying Ireland on social media:
“Well mostly social networking because it gives you a link to almost anyone and people can get overly obsessive about that! I.e. checking people’s status all the time judging them over their pictures and hearing gossip or having mean things said to you … But people get so obsessive with their page that they could just delete their profile because they’re getting treated badly but they just won’t because they’ve put so much effort into it.”
You can do something about cyberbullying in Ireland
Some who go through cyberbullying in Ireland just fatalistically think, and even hope that bullying will just pass away. Perhaps you have experienced being bullied offline or online. The truth is you can do something to stop it. The foremost action you can do is to get help by reporting it. Shauna Sisk, 18 and a teenage model from Cobh, Co Cork who underwent Cyberbullying after winning a local beauty title sought help to confront the bullies. “Talking to somebody about it was the best thing I did,” she said, “…don’t hide away. Don’t bury it. It’s not worth the pain. We have to stand up and stop the bullies.” Now she’s urging victims “not to suffer in silence” (www.irishexaminer.com). This response is in parallel with the EU Kids Online report, “most (28%) of the bullied ‘tried a proactive solution by trying to fix the problem themselves.’”
- Tell someone – your teacher at school, a close friend or most especially your parents – about the problem. You can always trust them in giving you the advice to cope with the situation.
- If you’re on a social network, be sure of your “privacy settings” so that your web pages are secure. Check your account regularly. Be most careful about your password. Keep it private and never tell anyone about it. Keep your profile details private and block unknown people.
- You can block the username of the person who’s bullying you.
- Don’t retaliate. Giving a response to the bully will only make the situation worse. Keep calm, be cool and humble yourself to show them they cannot easily provoke you.
- If you’re receiving SMS from bullies, give your phone to an adult for monitoring. You can get a new phone number and make it private from them.
- Lastly, be confident and strong. Be smart enough to understand them and make the necessary actions in fighting against whatever forms of bullying.