The One Liner

Cyberbullying: Confronting Digital Cruelty.

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In this article, We will go deeper into cyberbullying, looking at its many manifestations, its severe effects on people’s well-being, and the preventative and remedial measures that may be taken.

Let’s imagine a teenager named Emily who loves sharing her artwork on a popular social media platform. One day, she received a barrage of comments on her artwork; some criticized her skills, some criticized her appearance, and some even commented on her personal life. These hurtful comments continue to escalate, affecting her self-esteem and causing immense emotional distress.

The anonymity provided by the online platform emboldens the cyber bullies, who continue to target Emily, making her fear using the medium she once enjoyed.

Emily’s case is just one of many examples that highlight the pervasive and damaging effects of cyberbullying.

Even celebrities have experienced dreadful comments that traumatized them, whether in childhood or adulthood. Hearing negative remarks about one’s appearance can be very detrimental to one’s physical and emotional well-being. Ananya Panday recently talked about her experiences as a child experiencing body shaming. She said,

“When I was younger, I would get teased by some in school that ‘you are a flat-screen.’ I was like, this is only happening to me. Why are they only saying this to me? There is something wrong with me.” This type of comment stays for years and years. It profoundly affects the person from the inside.

Privacy invasion, cyber stalking, phishing schemes, online harassment, cyberbullying, fraud, and many more negative effects are just a few of the downsides. 

Let's dive right in..

What is Cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is harassing, intimidating, or harming others using digital communication tools and technology, such as social media sites, instant messaging programs, or online forums. It entails the persistent and intentional targeting of victims through electronic devices, frequently intending to cause them mental anguish or reputational harm.

Cyberbullying, as opposed to traditional kinds of bullying in person, uses the internet’s anonymity and broad appeal. 

Sending threatening or unpleasant messages, spreading rumors or false information, publishing inappropriate or embarrassing images or videos without permission, making up false identities or impersonating others, and rejecting or ostracizing people online are just a few examples of behaviors that fall under this category.

Having considerable fame or being too famous doesn’t matter here. 

Recently, the cyberbullying and abuse of cricketer Shubman Gill’s sister were reported to the authorities in Delhi. The tweets and Instagram posts about Shubman Gill’s sister are profane, sexist, threatening, and mean. Threats of rape and other kinds of harassment were made against her on social media sites is against the law. 

Then there is a situation where a celebrity dies. As a result, the actor’s film producers, past directors, co-stars, and ex-girlfriends get threatened by armchair critics in alarming ways. 

But there is another side to it, like even if there is still a problem with cyberbullying in Bollywood; it is encouraging to see the coordinated efforts being made to solve this problem. 

Celebrities are speaking out against cyberbullying more frequently, bringing attention to the problem and promoting a kinder and more polite online community.

Traditional Bullying
Traditional Bullying
Cyberbullying
Cyberbullying

Cyberbulling vs Traditional Bullying

Let’s imagine two students, Alex and Max, were at the center of a troubling situation. Alex and Max belonged to separate social groups at school. Alex enjoyed being alone and expressing themselves through their work, but Max thrived in the spotlight and was frequently surrounded by friends. 

The situation deteriorated one day when Max and some of his pals started picking on Alex. During lunchtimes, Max and his buddies would make fun of Alex in the real world by calling them names and destroying their artwork. He frequently returned home battered and troubled.

Soon Max and his friends found a new way to bully Alex.

 They created a fake profile to mock his artwork, give hurtful comments, and spread rumors, and with every message popped onto Alex’s device, he went into despair.

The encounter between Alex and Max illustrates the striking distinctions between conventional bullying and cyberbullying.

 Cyberbullying allows bullies to target their victims from a distance, making it more challenging to identify and take action against them than traditional bullying, which can be physically evident and may have witnesses.

You can see the differences below:

1. Medium of Communication

Cyberbullying occurs through digital platforms, such as social media, messaging apps, or email, whereas traditional bullying happens in person and within physical spaces like schools or neighborhoods.

2. Anonymity and Distance

Cyberbullying perpetrators can hide behind internet nicknames or profiles, so identifying and holding them accountable is frequently challenging. 

Usually, the victim of traditional bullying knows who is bullying them.

3. Permanence and Reach

Cyberbullying incidents are more challenging to remove as digital content is simple to keep, share, and distribute. Due to the ease with which damaging remarks or content can reach a large audience, the reach of cyberbullying is also increased.

Traditional bullying generally has a more localized impact, limited to the immediate environment in which it occurs.

4. Accessibility and Timing

Cyberbullying can happen anytime or location as long as people can access electronic devices and the internet. Due to their potential perception that there is no way to stop the harassment, victims are more severely affected by this constant accessibility. 

Bullying in the traditional sense often occurs at particular times and places, such as school or public events.

While cyberbullying and traditional bullying have distinct differences, Both types of harassment must be addressed and avoided.

Understand the root causes of Cyberbullying.
Understand the root causes of Cyberbullying.

Understand the root causes of Cyberbullying.

Humans are living in a world where people bully and get bullied. According to an anonymous, “Cyberbullying happens for many of the same reasons as any other type of bullying, but it may be even more appealing because it can be done anonymously.”

1. When people feel anonymous

Humans are living in a world where people bully and get bullied. According to an anonymous, “Cyberbullying happens for many of the same reasons as any other type of bullying, but it may be even more appealing because it can be done anonymously.”

2. When there is an imbalance in power

Cyberbullying can result from power imbalances, as people try to dominate or control others. is known as “power reinforcement.” Positive feedback from peers or attention might also encourage someone to continue engaging in cyberbullying.

3. Lack of face-to-face engagement

The lack of face-to-face engagement in online communication can result in lower empathy and a diminished feeling of the influence of one’s words or actions on others, making it easier to engage in unpleasant behavior.

4. Peer pressure

Social dynamics, such as the desire for acceptability or conformity within a peer group, can contribute to cyberbullying. Individuals may be compelled by peer pressure to engage in cyberbullying or to support it covertly by remaining silent.

5. Online communities

Media representations, online discussion boards, and social standards in online communities can all impact how people feel and act around cyberbullying. Harmful media impacts or online venues can sustain cyberbullying.

Understanding the underlying factors can help develop prevention strategies and promote a culture of empathy, respect, and responsible online behavior.

Let's explore the psychological effects caused by an individual's mental health.

Even when we try to ignore what the trolls say, cyberbullying can severely affect our minds and worsen our mental health. One may experience psychological effects such as depression, low self-esteem, and Anxiety.

How does cyberbullying affect a teen?

1. Mental health and emotional distress

2. Self-Esteem and Self-Image

3. Social Isolation and Loneliness

4. Academic Performance and School Engagement

When we hear about cyberbullying, it suddenly strikes children and teens, and they are advised to take help from adults, but where will adults go when they get trapped in cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying does not have an age limit. Anyone of us can be a target.

How does cyberbullying affect adults?
How does cyberbullying affect adults?

How does cyberbullying affect adults?

1. Emotional and Psychological Distress

2. Professional repercussions can include:

3. Social Isolation and Relationship Strain

4. Health Consequences

5. Legal and Financial Implications

The societal impact of Cyberbullying!

The societal impact of Cyberbullying!

Present Situation

In 2021, Maharashtra in India had the highest number of cyberstalking and bullying incidents against women and children compared to the rest of the country, with nearly 62 cases registered with the authorities. Telangana followed with 13 patients. The country recorded approximately 123 points for such offenses that same year.

One in three adults, most of whom are between the ages of 13 and 18, experience bullying every day, according to Child Rights and You (CRY). 

In India, there has been a 36% spike in reports of cyberstalking and cyberbullying, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.

Let’s talk about the cases which came into the limelight and made people think twice before trusting any stranger or website online.

Ritu Kohli's Case: The first cyberstalking case.

It is essential to bring up Ritu Kohli’s situation while discussing cyberbullying and stalking. Ritu Kohli’s case was the first cyberstalking case reported in India. Ritu Kohli, a young woman, complained in 2001 that someone was impersonating her identity on social media and that she was purposefully receiving calls from several numbers, including from abroad. Additionally, a case was brought under Section 509 of the Indian Penal Code.

Some more recent incidents:

#1
A 17-year-old Keralan girl committed suicide in 2020 due to online bullying and harassment. After the girl shared a video on Instagram discussing her experience with sexual molestation, she received trolling on social media.
#2
A 21-year-old Hyderabad lady was cyberbullied in 2017 and threatened online with rape and an acid attack. The woman shared a selfie on Facebook, followed by disparaging remarks and threats on numerous accounts.
#3
2019 saw the cyberbullying of a 23-year-old Mumbai woman after she tweeted about the disruption the azaan (Islamic call to prayer) loudness caused. Because of her tweet, the woman got death threats and was harassed on social media.
#4
A 14-year-old Mumbai girl committed suicide in 2018 due to cyberbullying and harassment. Embarrassing images and words were uploaded on a false Instagram account made in her name by her classmates.
#5
A 15-year-old Delhi kid took his own life 2016 after experiencing online bullying. His classmates set up a phony Facebook account in his name, posting nasty comments and images.
#6
A bunch of her classmates in Bangalore, India, tormented and harassed a 16-year-old girl online in 2019. They made a bogus Instagram account in her identity and placed pornographic images and messages on it.
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These incidents demonstrate the seriousness of cyberbullying and the potential harm it may do to people. 

It is crucial to spread Knowledge about cyberbullying and take action to stop it, including reporting abusive behavior to social media sites and getting support from reputable organizations like support groups and counseling services.

How can you protect yourself from being 'CYBERBULLIED'?

1. Disregard and be silent

When you face cyberbullying, your initial thought is to defend yourself. It comes as a typical first response whenever someone uses harsh language. Even if your answer is minimal, you create a social environment inviting such assaults.

The essential thing is to refrain from taking revenge and making posts in response to online trolls or humiliating oppressors. By lowering yourself to his level, you’ll only exacerbate the situation.

If you are a parent, it is a good idea to keep an eye on everything your kids do, use parental control software, and constantly educate youngsters about the risks associated with the internet.

2. Reach out to someone

One of the best bullying prevention methods is to speak with a responsible adult as soon as you become aware of the problem, especially if you are a teenager.

You can get advice on what to do from a teacher, parents, counselor, school administrator, or police officer with expertise in dealing with various problems.

If you’re a student, you should know that schools now monitor their pupils’ online behavior and have policies to combat online bullying.

If you’ve already experienced victimization, it can be beneficial to go to a therapist or a friend for assistance if you’re hurt or angry. Do not endure in silence.

3. Build And Protect Your Boundaries

People’s lack of boundaries is one of the factors contributing to the rise in the usage of vulgar language online. Internet users no longer keep their lives and personal information private. They are made vulnerable by their urge to open themselves to everyone, including total strangers.

Keep in mind that it’s not your fault when people are cruel. You are not responsible for this, so stop blaming yourself.

But if you keep healthy boundaries, you can protect yourself from these irritants. Only let trusted and familiar people into your offline and online spaces.

4. Utilize the Privacy settings

Learn what steps you can take to guarantee that the information you give and the details of your identity remain private on your website. You can modify the settings on Instagram and other websites so that only the people you select can view your posts.

 Most organizations constantly upgrade them, they go over these settings frequently.

Protecting your devices and the data you store on them is also a good idea. 

Pay attention to your computer and phone, which are likely to be used the most, and occasionally update your passwords.

5. Snapshot all your evidence

Take screenshots of any threatening emails, phone calls, or messages. When you report cyberbullying, keep copies of all correspondence and contacts as proof since they will assist you in proving your point. Note the dates, times, and details of the act’s occurrences.

An anonymous person who doesn’t use a real name can be found when you report a harasser to the site administration or information center. The website’s administrators will remove the opinion or suspend user accounts. Most websites disapprove of offensive remarks.

6. Improve Your Self-Confidence

Believing that you are the only one who truly knows yourself is one of the most critical life decisions you can make. Keep in mind that you are not who a stranger claims you are.

You won’t be bothered if you do this. Even though it is challenging and unpleasant, it might be the best defense.

7. Increase your Knowledge, and share it with the world

An excellent place to start is by reading this text. However, there are numerous tools and materials available on this subject. Inform individuals around you if you have Knowledge or suggestions on how they might protect themselves because nobody is safe from the horrific crime.

8. Government Programs

To combat cyberbullying, the Indian government has over the years introduced several programs (including the Nirbhaya Scheme, CCPW Scheme, and I4C Scheme), online reporting portals (such as the National Cybercrime Reporting Portal), helplines for women and children, and amendments to the Indian Penal Code 1860 and IT Act. State governments have also started various awareness programs. 

**CUT OFF, BULLY!**

Final Thoughts

Cyberbullying allows the bullies to hide behind screens, but it reveals their true character. Cyberbullying thrives in an environment where kindness and empathy are absent. Let’s create a world where they flourish instead.

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