CYBER BULLYING

(Danish Iqbal, )

Nada Aziz
Bahria University Islamabad

Technology in the contemporary society has come of age and many people have embraced it ranging from children, the youth and even adults. Technological advancements in computers and mobile devices have eased communication and how people transact businesses. Despite the good intentions through the advancements, technology has also experienced its fair share of shortcomings. Cyber bullying is one of the most dreadful actions committed via the internet that has affected millions of people.

Cyber bullying is the online mistreatment which happens to an individual and it is aided by electronic technology. Several platforms in the internet support cyber bullying such as the social media sites, text messages, email and chat rooms when conversing in groups and through the websites. The use of technology in the society for different functions is on the rise and it is a double edged sword which has both advantages and disadvantages depending on how it is handled. The use of technology for the sake of blackmailing, humiliating, harassing or intending to cause harm to another person is cybercrime. Cyber bullying in most of the cases happens when someone sends mean text messages or email, propagates rumors via email or posting on social media platforms and conveying embarrassing pictures, websites, videos and unreal profiles about a person. The use of computers and mobile phones to post sexual content is also misconduct and falls under cyberbullying (Smith, 2002).

Children in the United States gain access to digital means of communication at tender ages hence cyber bullying is very common among them. In 2016, approximately 12 percent of middle and high school students in US opened up that they have experienced cyber bullying. In most of the cases, online harassing perpetrators are always in the same group as the victim. A couple of publicized suicide cases among the youth has been due to online threats, spread of malicious rumors about them online. This continuous trend has led to the creation of laws which are aimed to discourage perpetrators and protect those affected by such acts. As of the start of 2016, all the states have passes laws on bullying and 48 have had an inclusion of electronic harassment in these laws. Approximately 23 states have incorporated explicit cyber bullying laws. Many of the state laws also focused on sexting, which is the act of sending, receiving or dispatching pictures or videos which contain explicit content. Although the intention of the sender intended it to be private, the ease of digital technology can lead such content reach the wider public. By November 2016, half of the states in the US had sexting laws and nine of them explicitly included the word sexting. Felony punishment was the potential punishment in at least six states on a crime committed against sexting laws (“Cyber bullying - Statistics & Facts”, 2018).

Impersonation is also in the rise where perpetrators create a social media account impersonating their victims. The aim could be to cause harm and humiliate them. Text wars are launched as they send messages to the victim which may contain hate speech. This can lead to a decline of the victim’s self-esteem and make them feel unworthy. Threatening messages can also be send to the victims scaring them on dire consequences if they do not follow the instructions they give. When someone gets threatening messages, it is their obligation to report the matter to the authorities. Sexual harassment as a form of cyber bullying is also very vibrant in the video game culture. Video game is common among children and the harassment is on the way women are portrayed in the games. Slurs have been created which are directed to women in the society, sex role stereotyping and the use of aggressive language excessively (Keerthi, 2017).
 

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