What is Cyberbullying? | Online Harassment [Updated 2024]

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What is Cyberbullying? | Online Harassment [Updated 2024]

What is Cyberbullying in simple words?

When an individual employs the capabilities of the internet to achieve malicious objectives such as threatening, harassing, humiliating, or targeting another person, such behavior is commonly classified as cyberbullying.  Although the target demographic of cyberbullying is predominantly adolescents, there have been instances where adults have been subjected to certain forms of cyberbullying, including public humiliation in front of an intimate circle of acquaintances or the entire world, which induces significant psychological and social strain.

What is cyberbullying and why is it a problem?

It has also been observed in messages that have gone viral that individuals erase some form of online activity, such as a mean post or a story, but the content continues to circulate in the inboxes of numerous users via screenshots or shared contexts.  In the most dire of circumstances, certain targeted users of cyberbullying may be unaware of the identity of the abuser, thanks to the detrimental effects of the internet; this further complicates efforts to stop cyberbullying.

Types of Cyberbullying

Being the most time-rich demographic, children, and adolescents in particular, are currently the most active in terms of socializing.  They heavily rely on social media platforms to communicate with their peers, family, and relatives on a daily basis.  This specific situation provides them with an ideal opportunity to engage in cyberbullying themselves or to become victims of cyberbullying perpetrated by others.

Although there are numerous methods by which an individual can harass other internet users online, we have outlined the five most common forms as follows:

  • Harassment,
  • Impersonation,
  • Inappropriate Photograph,
  • Website Creation, and
  • Video Shaming.

Moreover, for those who are committed to determining “What is cyberbullying means?”  We have described each of the 5 distinct types of cyberbullying tactics. within the following paragraphs:

Harassment

Employing certain methods to antagonize an individual is a prevalent form of cyberbullying in which one person oppresses another for the purpose of achieving one’s own goals.  One well-known way to torment someone online is to report their profile or videos as if they contain incorrect information, even though there is nothing inherently wrong with the content.

Unusual ‘texting’ is an additional method of the same harassment.  Typically, children engage in written disputes with a specific target child, either individually or collectively, in order to antagonize that child. Such behavior generates significant social and psychological strain as the child is abruptly isolated from his or her peers.  As not all subscribers have unlimited data or SMS contracts, this can occasionally be an expense for the parents as well.

Impersonation

It is a well-known form of cyberbullying in which one individual assumes the identity of the other and initiates a conversation as the legitimate one; this can result in significant financial and time losses.  Not only children, but also adults engage in such humiliating behavior with the intention of making light of and degrading the other person in front of their peers or a special someone.

Approximately 5% of social media profiles are fake, according to a Facebook survey, despite the removal of billions of fraudulent profiles created annually via a very large index.

There are various methods employed to perpetrate this impersonation, including children hacking into accounts, stealing passwords by snooping on targets’ credentials from any blind spot, and altering targets’ profiles in a way that exposes them to public ridicule and humiliation in their online presence.  Furthermore, in instances where the credentials for legitimate social media accounts are not compromised, children would fabricate profiles featuring identical names and photos, and then publish explicit and distressing content under the false pretenses of the profile holders. Such activities could, in some extreme cases, result in the suicide of the children themselves.

Furthermore, catfishing, which involves luring someone into a fictitious profile of the opposite gender in order to arouse infatuation in another person, and then ridiculing and teasing them as a result of the communication that transpired between the two individuals in a sham relationship, is an extremely well-known practice.

Inappropriate Photographs

Individuals who conduct keyword searches such as “What is cyberbullying on social media?” should be aware that a significant number of individuals resort to this most heinous method of suicide each year.  Unpermitted photographs captured in private areas such as locker rooms, bathrooms, or dressing rooms have the potential to be utilized to harass or humiliate individuals in the presence of others.

The majority of cases involve females whose nude or explicit photographs have been circulating on social media platforms or in the WhatsApp inboxes of individuals as a result of the misbehavior of malevolent individuals or girls.  The dissemination of these degrading images to the entire internet makes it difficult to prevent incidents of this nature and to expunge the source images from everyone’s mobile devices.

Nevertheless, certain young individuals employ these types of images as weapons, transmitting them via mass emails or text messages to every acquaintance of the target.  An additional instance involves two individuals purportedly in a relationship when they reveal intimate details via online live streaming to one another. This exchange is captured by one party and subsequently disseminated on pornographic websites or social media platforms, where modifications are virtually impossible. ‘Sexting’ is a specific form of conduct that is subject to legal consequences in numerous countries, including imprisonment and monetary penalties.

As you have all observed, girls’ body-revealing photographs on social media platforms have been the subject of numerous hateful, indecent comments, which amount to slut shaming. This is in reference to the short dresses these girls are wearing, the way they dance, or the way they speak.  This also falls under the category of cyberbullying.

Website Creation

It is a less common tactic because it requires the creation of a website, blog, or poll to antagonize the target in a mass manner.  They might, for instance, develop a website on a paid or free portal in order to conduct an online survey concerning a specific target or a group of targets.  Numerous spiteful or insensitive inquiries are posed in these surveys, encompassing topics such as the target’s appearance, skin tone, ethnic origin, dietary status, or any other characteristic that might precipitate an abrupt upheaval in the target’s life.

Video Shaming

Videos are currently viewed on social media platforms to an unprecedented degree.  Furthermore, there are specialized applications that operate exclusively on the dissemination of video content that are also prevalent in the market.  Similarly, cyberbullying is prevalent in this society with the intention of causing humiliation and embarrassment to the targets for their own amusement or benefit.  For instance, instances of cyberbullying have been documented in which a video is utilized to humiliate the target in some way; the video is either broadcast live on YouTube or has rapidly spread from mobile to mobile via WhatsApp or another communication application.

Furthermore, the perpetrator of cyberbullying may distribute these humiliating recordings through text messages or mass email.  Furthermore, the malicious individuals document an occurrence in which an individual is subjected to any form of public humiliation and subsequently disseminate the footage through social media platforms for the identical objective: to engage in cyberbullying.

By providing the aforementioned illustrations, we have endeavored to address the frequently inquired matter, “What are some instances of cyberbullying?”  Consequently, let us now further examine its effects.

Consequences of Cyberbullying

When an individual is subjected to cyberbullying, the targeted party experiences a range of physical, psychological, and emotional repercussions.  Additionally, they may express a range of concerns stemming from depression, anxiety, dread, and diminished self-esteem, all of which are consequences of experiencing cyberbullying.  A subset of individuals may experience hypertension, stress, and trauma as a result of the oppression they endure while shielded from cyberbullying.

Moreover, certain individuals who have been subjected to cyberbullying experience apprehension when venturing outdoors alone, as their sense of social isolation is exacerbated by the humiliation inflicted by antisocial elements.  Additionally, they reportedly experience profound sorrow, hopelessness, and helplessness.

How To Deal With A Cyberbully?

In the event that you or any of your acquaintances have experienced the distressing effects of cyberbullying, it is beyond your comprehension how to react.  However, each victim’s circumstances and the cyberbullying that occurred with them are unique, but we have done our best to elucidate how you can effectively and sincerely retaliate against cyberbullying through the steps outlined below.

  • Reporting the Incident Accurately
  • Document the Incidents
  • Involve the Police and the School
  • Be Aware of the Effects
  • Don’t Halt Their Social Connection

Furthermore, each of the aforementioned options has been concisely described in the subsequent paragraphs:

Reporting the Incident Accurately

The primary error is for a target to fail to disclose a cyberbullying incident to a trusted individual who would be able to provide an explanation for the incident or offer a counterattack in order to prevent further humiliation.  Typically, when an individual or group anticipates the precise reaction from the target, they do so with great glee.

Nevertheless, an individual who has been subjected to this form of cyberbullying may also report the incident to a higher authority (e.g., police, cyber cell, school, college, university, or employer) in order for them to be held accountable and take appropriate action in lieu of responding.

What is cyberbullying law?” may have been on your mind.  Globally, virtually every nation has enacted stringent legislation to combat cyberbullying.  Any instance of cyberbullying may be reported to the police or cyber cell.

Document the Incidents

Typically, when the perpetrator becomes aware that the target is pursuing legal action against him, they delete the profile.  As a result, the perpetrators would typically remove the post or other media from the platform where they were published in order to engage in cyberbullying against the target.  After downloading the media, images must be taken and presented as evidence to the appropriate authorities so that they may take severe action against the perpetrators.  Nonetheless, it is highly recommended that you carry a copy of the evidence with you at all times in order to present it to the investigating officers as necessary.

Involve the Police and the School

Prior to reporting cyberbullying to the police, incidents should always be reported to the victim’s higher administration, including that of a university, college, school, or office.  Nevertheless, it is not only your obligation but also your primary responsibility to consistently update law enforcement and higher authorities regarding the progress of the case.

Additionally, certain heinous crimes, such as death threats, physical violence threats, significant indicators of stalking, or even suicidal clues directed at your child, should be reported to the police without delay.  Physical molestation may result from online harassment at any time if it is not stopped within the allotted time.  Nevertheless, additional forms of harassment exist, including those that are predicated on an individual’s race, religion, or disability.

Be Aware of the Effects

An individual should also be cognizant of the potential repercussions that may ensue from online bullying, which may include feelings of extreme isolation vulnerability, hypertension, stress, depression, and even suicide ideation.  In order to assist your ward in need, do not hesitate to approach counselors, physicians, or psychiatrists for consultations; this is preferable to approaching the police or higher authorities.  Furthermore, the victim should be afforded an adequate duration to recover from such degrading occurrences.

Don’t Halt Their Social Connection

It is essentially inappropriate to permanently delete their social media accounts on the grounds that they have committed a crime or violated the policies of the social communities.  Alternatively, one could attempt to regain their lost honor on social media by publishing positive things and spending quality time with them while giving them a break.  Undoubtedly, such assistance will facilitate their recovery from the internal traumas inflicted as a result of cyberbullying incidents.

What is Cyberbullying Law?

Singapore implements a comprehensive legal framework to combat cyberbullying, which encompasses both targeted legislation and overarching provisions applicable to online harassment and harassing conduct. Although a singular “cyberbullying law” does not exist, numerous pre-existing laws are utilized to address distinct facets of cyberbullying:

Protection from Harassment Act (POHA) The Protection from Harassment Act (POHA), which was implemented in 2014, serves as a crucial legal tool in combating various forms of harassment, including cyberbullying. It encompasses a variety of transgressions, such as inducing annoyance, apprehension, or unease, particularly via digital methods. The legislation empowers victims to petition for a restraining order against the perpetrator, which can be legally enforced by the judiciary.
Penal Code Specific provisions of the Singapore Penal Code can be invoked in instances of cyberbullying. Depending on the nature of the cyberbullying incident, the applicability of Section 506 (Criminal Intimidation), Section 499 (Defamation), and Section 507 (Criminal intimidation via an anonymous message) can be considered.
Misuse of Computer and Cybersecurity Act This legislation can be employed to address instances of cyberbullying that entail unlawful entry into computer systems and networks, particularly when it results in the dissemination of detrimental or menacing material.
Children and Young Persons Act This statute offers supplementary safeguards for cases involving individuals who are under the age of legal adulthood. It can be utilized to tackle the issue of cyberbullying among individuals aged 16 and below.
Sedition Act If cyberbullying involves promoting animosity or antagonism based on race or social class among the population of Singapore, the Sedition Act can be applied.
Defamation Law Singapore’s defamation laws can be invoked to seek remedy when there is a dissemination of incorrect information about an individual.
Education Act Within the realm of educational institutions, the Ministry of Education has established regulations and disciplinary protocols to effectively combat instances of cyberbullying among students.

Statistics About Cyberbullying in Singapore

Recent cyberbullying statistics in Singapore indicate a worrisome pattern across various age groups:

  1. A research investigation carried out by the Sunlight Alliance for Action (AfA) revealed that approximately 50% of the 1,000 participants, who were Singaporeans and permanent residents aged 15 and above, had encountered cyberbullying or some other type of online injury.
  2. An additional study revealed that 52% of Singaporean adolescents are victims of cyberbullying. Based on the results of a global survey, this number was calculated using 11,963 Singaporean respondents, who were divided into two age groups: children (aged 8–12) and adolescents (aged 13–19).
  3. According to a survey of 1,900 primary school students and 3,000 secondary school pupils conducted by Touch Cyber Wellness, one in every three secondary school students had experienced online bullying. Furthermore, one-fourth of those surveyed acknowledged engaging in cyberbullying against their peers via social networking sites. One in every five lower primary school students had experienced online social media taunts.

The statistics mentioned above underscore the widespread occurrence of cyberbullying among the youth demographic in Singapore, thereby signifying a substantial concern that impacts a noteworthy segment of our young people.

FAQs

About Cyberbullying

1: Why do people cyberbully others?

When individuals are being “called out” or criticized by others and are attempting to defend themselves or their peers, they may unwittingly fall victim to cyberbullying. A bully will frequently experience a sense of being assaulted when they receive criticism for expressing harmful ideas to others.

2: What should parents do if they find out that their child is being cyberbullied?

The parents should do the following activities in case they find out that their child is being cyberbullied:

  • Offer comfort and support,
  • Let your child know that it’s not their fault,
  • Notify the school,
  • Encourage your child not to respond to cyberbullying,
  • Keep records,
  • Get help from an expert, etc.

3: Can adults be a victim of cyberbullying?

All age categories are susceptible to cyberbullying, including adults. Obtain assistance and knowledge regarding various strategies for adult victims of cyberbullying. There are numerous comments on this blog, emails, and phone calls that we receive from adults who are victims of cyberbullying.

4: How can adults survive cyberbullying?

Safeguarding oneself is of utmost importance when one is the target of cyberbullying. It is critical to have someone to discuss your experiences with. A parent, another trusted adult, or a teacher could be this individual. Discuss with your parents and peers what to do in the event that you or a friend are victims of cyberbullying.

5: Should I seek therapy for cyberbullying?

By means of psychotherapy, cyberbullying victims may recover feeling more robust, resilient, and self-assured. It provides individuals with the necessary resources to address emotional injuries, enabling them to regain control of their lives and accept a future devoid of the constant menace of cyberbullying.

6: What are some steps I can take to prevent cyberbullying?

Below-mentioned are some major steps that you can take to prevent cyberbullying:

  • Manage privacy settings online,
  • Protect your passwords,
  • Keep clear records,
  • Don’t respond or retaliate,
  • Block cyberbullies via user settings,
  • Report cyberbullying to site admins,
  • Stay safe online,
  • Ask when you think a friend may need help,
  • Remember that you aren’t alone,
  • Contact law enforcement if you feel threatened, etc.

Conclusion

In the bottom line, we would like to assert that the abhorrent occurrences of cyberbullying are analogous to a curse upon our society in this age of technology, where antisocial individuals are exploiting the means to ridicule others at their discretion.  Furthermore, we have endeavored to shed a positive light on every measure that can be taken to prevent cyberbullying, as well as methods that can be employed to ensure that rigorous legal action is taken against the issue.  In the public interest and as part of a campaign to raise awareness against cyberbullying, Craw Security, the Top-Notch Cybersecurity Training Institute in Singapore, created this comprehensive article for the purpose of enlightening the public and creating a general awareness against cyberbullying.

To get more info on any relevant stuff or to join a cybersecurity training program, call +65-93515400 now.

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