Today’s society is seeing a dramatic increase in devastatingly brutal cases of bullying that now is drawing the direct attention of schools, parents, law enforcement, and the medical community. This situation is getting so serious that many states are reaching out to their communities and suggesting they band together and educate themselves on the causes and outcomes of this all-too-frequent horrifying behaviour. Until recently, cyberbullying and bullying, in general, were often thought of as just “kids being kids” and that the behaviour will stop. Discover Solutions for Cyberbullying!
However, this simply is not the case. This behaviour, as is now known, can and does have a lasting effect on both the bully and the person bullied. Currently, existing cyberbullying articles attempt to reach out to anyone who will read about this terrifying behaviour that can literally ruin a young person’s ability to cope with everyday life. Sadly, even with all of the attention given to cyberbullying, too many parents still consider bullying as just a minor, one-time event that will not cause harm.
Yielding to a cyberbully and the accompanying events of this behaviour often result in an outcome that is totally devastating to the target of the bully, families, communities, and even to the bully. Many people are curious about just what is cyberbullying and why has it become such an issue of late.
The answer lies in the fact that until fairly recently, cyberbullying (the act of using the Internet to viscously inflict harm on another through social media, email, etc.) was considered a minor behavioural problem similar to “teasing”. Sadly, with the explosion of the Internet and the use of mobile phone cameras, cyber bullies now have a particularly effective means to deliver their sadistic and cruel arrows of destruction. Obviously, this behaviour needs to stop and thankfully, more and more people are taking action to prevent future occurrences.
Cyberbullying is the act of a person, or persons, viciously attacking another through the use of electronic media such as email, texting, photos, social media, or video sharing sites. Nasty, hate-filled messages are directed at the bully’s target with the intent to criticize, humiliate, and defame the individual. If available, videos or photos that describe vulgar or inappropriate behaviour even when it does not exist are used to further their cause.
During this time, the person being bullied is initially hurt, which is the goal of the attack. While the attacks continue, they usually grow in intensity because now the bully knows that the attacks are affecting the individual, and the bully is gaining control.
This only encourages the bully to do even more damage. As the bully is successful in breaking down the individual, more and more people take notice and continue the tormenting. The attacks get worse and more frequent, eventually becoming relentless with no sign of letting up. Without help, the individual can become depressed and withdrawn, furthering the bully’s agenda. If parents or authorities do not intervene very soon, a horrifying and terrible disaster is possible.
This problem is so serious and in dire need of immediate, broad-based attention that entire communities need to join together and take action. Many times, the end-game of cyberbullying is death, either by suicide or murder. The bully is not satisfied with only embarrassing the “target”, but the ultimate result of their efforts is the complete destruction of the person. In many cases, the death of the individual is just a consequence and nothing more. A growing number of cases involve suicide by young people barely into their teen years. This time of life should be filled with fun and innocent behaviour.
For a teen, having to deal with the ever-present issues of social acceptance and making friends, all the while trying to perform their best in school and sports, takes up most of their time. Family life is supposed to be that safe place he or she could escape to when things became a little too hard to understand. Talking out problems with Mom or Dad was always reassuring because they always knew best.
The pressures of growing up did not seem as hard as they thought they once were, thanks to them. But, as they grew up and influences from unsavoury individuals seemed to draw their attention away from family and more toward what “everyone” else is doing, the child begins to venture off into a place that is unfamiliar, yet exciting to them.
Assuming of course, that the family structure is sound and allows for the child to make their own, responsible decisions, this situation would normally be handled correctly. However, in the case of a young teenager who is desperately seeking acceptance, all too often a bully will take notice of this weakness and make this child a target of their aggression. Whether the reason the bully obsesses to hurt their target is out of jealousy because of looks and popularity, or even because of academic prowess, the cyberbully will take aim and start their systematic destruction of the child.
In the case of cyberbullying, this can take the form of using social media to defame the child by posting to millions of potential viewers untruths about their behaviour, or much worse, posting photos of the child that were never intended to be shared. The cyber bully will purposely use these photos to depict bad or unacceptable behaviour, which will in turn lead to the child becoming the target of many more people who perpetuate the falsehoods.
Eventually, the child begins to believe that they are unacceptable as human beings, and they then unknowingly start their emotional downward spiral toward depression and a whole host of other problems. Ideally, this would be the time for parents to realize what is happening and for them to take immediate action. As the bullying continues and intensifies, it is at this point that many children reach out for help, and some of them are rescued by their families. For many, though, this is not the case. Instead, as mentioned earlier, the behaviour is written off as minor and short-lived.
More Solutions for Cyberbullying
It is imperative that this very serious social issue be addressed on a much larger scale. The key to the prevention of cyberbullying begins first with communication. According to the National Crime Prevention Council (NCPC), “Young people say that bullying is one of the biggest problems they face. In fact, 52 percent of students report seeing bullying at least once a week.” As you can see, if children are encouraged to talk to their parents, counsellors, or teachers when they suspect that they are being targeted by a bully or bullies, immediate steps can be taken to stop the behaviour before it reaches a dangerous level where the bullying may take a horrific turn.
Developing and nurturing a trusting relationship with your child will help immensely should a change in his or her behaviour be a cause for concern. Understanding his or her behaviour in different situations will certainly lend itself well to alerting you if these changes should be investigated, or if they are inconsequential in nature. Encourage your child to talk to you whenever any issue causes unusual stress.
Solutions for Cyberbullying: The Signs!
Young people change their behaviour dramatically when they are being bullied. The changes can be subtle, yet powerful. For example, the child may slowly fade away from the “social” scene where he or she once was very active. This sign must not be misunderstood or treated as insignificant. This is a signal to talk to your child and try to understand the reason for this change. Or, the behaviour can be noticeable immediately, like a sudden change that alerts your senses that something just is not right. Below is a list of signs from the NCPC to be aware of:
- Drop in grades
- Torn clothing
- Loss of friends
- Avoidance of school and other activities
- Need for extra money or supplies