Mobile phones, desktop computers, laptops, tablets, and the Internet are all so important, especially nowadays, that they are, in many ways, necessary in day-to-day living. From communication to entertainment, from work and learning to leisure and play, they are functional and advantageous. But never ignore and never forget that even if these elements of the digital age are harmless as themselves, the manner in which they are used makes a big difference. Cyberbullying proves that.
In many countries around the globe, bullying is a serious, hard-to-combat problem. Unfortunately, cyberbullying, one of its kind, is another level of disaster. To put it briefly, it is online bullying. When someone is bad-mouthed, downgraded, pressured, and abused through social media and any digital device, that is considered cyberbullying. In itself, this also comes in various forms, which are all deleterious.
From whatever angle you look at it, this harassment must be demolished. One of the toughest problems when it comes to doing that is the lack of awareness that cyberbullying is already taking place in front of one’s screen. Others shrug it off too. Why? Because often, it just seems like harmless ‘memes’, ‘jokes’, ‘trips’ and ‘familiar fun’ when in fact, it’s already cyberbullying.
You know how it’s hard to see kids bruised and wounded after being beaten up by bullies, belittled while being slaved by bullies, and crying hopelessly because of getting hurt by the same. They are indeed to be helped. Nevertheless, even the victims of cyberbullying need tremendous help because, in many cases, it can engrave pains more damaging than harassment that touches their skin.
7 Reasons Why Cyberbullying Can Be More Dangerous Than Face-To-Face Bullying
Understand more about this through the tailor-made list below containing seven reasons why cyberbullying can be more dangerous than face-to-face bullying.
The bully and the bullied can be miles apart from each other and in different time zones
Everyone is greatly thankful for technology because it brings people from different countries together in one sphere, but in that same subject, cyberbullying takes advantage.
The bully and the bullied can be miles apart from each other and in different time zones. There are no limits because the web is a vast domain that breaks the bounds of distances and time constraints.
When students are physically bullied in school, their escape and haven is their own house. That’s where the intimidators cannot reach and denigrate them. Unfortunately, victims of cyberbullying are mocked and hurt wherever they may be, even inside their homes. That’s simply because the abuse happens virtually, through text, chat, social media posts, comments, and emails too.
Online posts can easily be seen, shared, and spread
Think before you click. You know it, right? It might be a cliche to hear, but it is surely chief because whatever you post on your social media profiles can be seen, shared, and spread easily. That’s what online content is. They are made in such a way that they can almost effortlessly be disseminated.
Hundreds of people can share a single photo in less than 5 seconds. Not considering if it is true or not, it can circulate on multiple social media platforms. A lot of things and people go viral overnight. For some, it takes just a few hours within a day. It’s amazing but scary if cyberbullying is in the picture. That means the victims can be bullied quickly by so many people. They can be called victims before they even know.
Bullies fabricate posts for their benefit
Obviously, bullies do not have anything good to do and say. They hold up to shame their prey to favor themselves. Aside from thinking that they are better than their victims, they think of a hundred ways to attack them. And distastefully, cyberbullying allows them to execute all these and to come up with more.
Social media is advantageous for relevant information search but negative when people pick up the bad news. Some bullies fabricate their insulting posts for their benefit. Sad to say, some netizens believe whatever they see online without validating its truth.
Of course, the data spread by the culprits are all false, but this makes the victims feel unsafe about what others will think towards them.
It ruins reputation and drags down self-esteem
As mentioned previously, some offenders use made-up stories and edited visual content against their targets. On the other hand, some use real details to deface one’s image. They do that through hacking or impersonating, or they can be people who were once in good relationships with the victims.
Regardless of whether the spread scoop is authentic or not definitely, cyberbullying ruins reputations and drags down self-esteem.
It’s not easy for victims to defend themselves online
Social media’s ends cannot be determined by ordinary people. You never know where your posts reach. It’s not easy for victims of cyberbullying to defend themselves online because of that. It’s impossible for them to connect and contact every person who sees the fake gossip or the derogatory content and explain to them the truth they want the world to know.
What’s more, not everyone will be open to hearing the victims’ side when they have already judged them through the cyberbullies’ posted material.
Cyberbullying branches out to face-to-face bullying
Some casualties of cyberbullies become afraid to step out of the house because they are afraid to be bullied in person. This is especially when the wrongdoers are the victims’ neighbors, schoolmates, workmates, friends, or even relatives.
Online harassment can branch out to face-to-face bullying, particularly when the bullies and the bullied inevitably come together in one place. It can expand to verbal abuse and physical violence.
The stabs from cyberbullying may not be visible, but they can kill people
Sufferers endure and keep it in, but cyberbullying inflicts inexplicable pain that leaves horrible marks. They may not have a bleeding arm, a bruised leg, a black eye, or a torn shirt, but they have a broken heart and a troubled mind.
Depression and anxiety are two of the most common effects of online bullying on the victims. Some even take their lives because of the feeling of hopelessness and helplessness, not being able to withstand all the assault and agony they obtain online. The stabs from cyberbullying may not be visible, but they can kill people – literally or not.
Cyberbullying: The Worst
Truly, the products of technology are not guilty of cyberbullying. All of them help people’s lives in manifold ways. It’s the way individuals use them that’s accountable. Sadly, through users’ hurtful and immoral means, these online platforms and digital devices become a scary place for some people who are bullied.
Know that victims of cyberbullying need help and guidance. Especially when matters go out of their control and lead to life-threatening issues, there are human rights protection programs, safety and security institutions, police authorities, laws, and lawyers ready and able to help.
Just because it’s not happening right in front of you (and “just inside the computer screen”) does not mean that it’s not dreadful. Cyberbullying must not be underestimated because. As the list above explains, it can be one of the worst things you can ever know, see, or experience.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Nicole Ann Pore is the writer of this article. She graduated Cum Laude from De La Salle University Manila, Philippines with a Bachelor’s Degree in Communication Arts.