While the internet has been essential in our daily lives, this connectivity and ease of access also bring many dangers that lurk around every corner of the web. This included inappropriate content and most importantly, different types of cyberbullying. Cases of cyberbullying continue to increase at an alarming rate around the world, not only among kids and teens, but even in the workplace. A cyberbully has nothing but bad intentions for online users or innocent kids and teens who are just looking to enjoy their digital lives.
What is Cyberbullying?
Bullying has long existed in our society, and has always been a bane to kids and young teens. Physical bullying can typically be seen from a mile away, and at most times, can be avoided by looking the other way and steering away from the bully. Teenage bullying is very rampant in schools because students – bullies and their victims – see each other daily. Cyberbullying attacks, on the other hand, can come out of nowhere, at any place and at any time.
Cyberbullying, as defined, is the act of sending messages of an intimidating or threatening nature to bully a person through the use of electronic communication. With almost everyone having a smartphone, the reach of cyberbullies has expanded greatly: from emails to social media posts and comments to text messages. The more time we spend online, the more opportunities these cyberbullies have to reach out to us and make us their victims.
As we rely constantly on technology and online communication, we have to know and understand the different types of cyberbullying we might encounter both in our workplace and in our children’s lives.
Common Types of Cyberbullying
Online harassment is a constant stream of hurtful and/or abusive messages to the victim. A particularly dangerous form of cyberbullying, these malicious attacks can have long-term mental effects on the victim. The non-stop cyber harassment from the bully is designed to elicit fear and panic on their prey.
Not all trolls are bullies. Most are just harmless, attention-deprived loners looking for their 15 minutes of fame. However, when their comments are laced with profanity and insults, and are specifically addressed to one person, then that is considered cyberbullying. Their goal is to make the target attack back, making themselves feel good because they made someone else feel bad.
With internet trolls lurking in almost every comment section on every post on any social media platform, Trolling can be a very common type of cyberbullying experienced by our kids.
A more common form of cyberbullying in the workplace, persistent and unwanted contact and attention are the main characteristics of cyberstalking. It may also involve threats, false accusations, defamation, slander and libel. This type of cyberbullying can be very dangerous as it can lead to real-world stalking, especially if the bully and the victim are in the same vicinity. This form of bullying has to be discovered and prevented in its early stages, because the implications of cyberstalking if and when it moves into the physical world are unimaginable.
So, your BFF is in an online group conversation and you’re not. It’s ok. They are allowed to have other friends. But if you’re being left out all too often, you may already be a victim of this type of cyberbullying – exclusion. Online exclusion often equates to being left out in real-life activities and conversations. It may look shallow on the outside, but this type of bullying can lead to low self-esteem, lack of confidence, and self-harm.
Also known as Doxing, Outing is the act of revealing private, sensitive, or embarrassing information about someone with the deliberate intent to publicly humiliate the victim. Even the act of reading out loud a private message without consent can be considered outing and be reported as a form of cyberbullying. Parents and friends, beware!
A close cousin to Outing/Doxing, trickery takes the treachery up a notch by befriending the victim before the cyberbullying starts. Once the bully earns the trust of the victim, a false sense of security is established and the child begins to share private or sensitive information with their so-called ‘friend’. This information is then sent to a third party or parties. Rarely does the bully spread the information first-hand so that the ‘trust’ from the victim remains and the bully can continue to gather information.
A social media account has been left logged in on a school or public computer – time for some good ol’ fashion fun. Sounds innocent enough. But imagine the dangers such unrestricted access can bring and the damage it can cause. Racial attacks. Harassing another person. Dangerous trolling, and a whole lot more. All being done on an innocent victim’s account without their knowledge. The term Fraping came from combining the words Facebook and Raping. Just by that information, you know it’s wrong.
This form of cyberbullying involves creating a fake profile or identity with the purpose of attacking a specific victim. The email account, phone numbers, and photos in this account may be fake, or belong to someone else. The effort that goes into creating a different online identity to hide his true self most likely points to the bully being well acquainted with the victim.
Dissing involves the act of spreading cruel information about the victim, either through online posts or private messages to third parties. The goal is to destroy the victim’s reputation among his or her friends or social circles. This cyberbully is almost always known to the victim, with the reason for the attacks typically stemming from jealousy and envy.
Looking to establish an online connection with romantic intentions, Catfishing convinces the victim to enter into an ‘exclusive’ relationship with a fake persona. When the bully successfully makes the victim fall for them, their online relationship typically transitions into the real world. If this happens, the consequences can be extremely dangerous, especially when the catfish is a sex offender.
A cyberbully will typically employ a combination of these types of bullying and not just focus on one form of attack. Hiding behind a keyboard and monitor allows them to be relentless to do whatever they can to try and get what they want.
Is Cyberbullying Legal?
Knowing the potential damage these cyber attacks can cause, not only does cyberbullying not belong in our society, in no way, shape, or form can these actions be ever considered legal. Online attacks on adults are one thing, cyberbullying kids is even worse and should never, ever, be tolerated.
The effects of these attacks on us or our children will vary depending on the intensity of the attacks and our ability to overcome them. From low self-esteem to depression and other mental health issues, all the way to self-harm, cyberbullying can be very destructive and should never be ignored. If there are any warning signs of cyberbullying activities happening, especially where our children are concerned, we have to act fast, be on guard, and keep a close eye on them.
Protect Your Child from Cyberbullies and other Internet Dangers
Highster Mobile is a top-rated phone monitoring software that allows you to keep track of child’s phone or tablet activities, keeping them safe from online attacks and inappropriate content. SMS logs, browser history, and social media content can all be kept under your watchful eye. Aside from data monitoring, Highster Mobile also keeps track of device location via GPS so you can make sure your child is in a safe environment at all times.
We have to monitor vigilantly and immediately report cyberbullying, in shapes and forms, to the proper authorities. Let’s all do our share to make sure we live, study, and work in a safe online environment.