Bullying and harassment are nothing new, but they have evolved with new techniques since the rise of the Internet. Indeed, with this new way of communicating, innovating ways to communicate, to socialize, and to access information have been introduced.
What Is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is done through Internet and can affect anyone. It spreads through various electronic media such as
- Text messages
- Social Media
- Chat rooms
- Video games in which one can communicate with other players
It’s set to humiliate, to spread rumours, insults, threats, words of intimidation, defamatory remarks, etc., repeatedly.
Anybody can be affected by cyberbullying: classmates, office colleagues, ex-spouses, members of your family, or yourself.
Causes of a phenomenon that keeps growing
Harassment is not a new phenomenon, but since the arrival of the Internet and the popularization of social media, it’s taken on a new shape, which is cyberbullying.
On the Internet, especially on social media, blogs, and other sharing media, it has become very easy to disclose the user’s private life, personal information, pictures, videos, and has facilitated meeting new people.
It then becomes easy for a person with bad intentions to reach out to another person by blackmailing or threatening them, or through other harmful actions.
Cyberbullying can happen quickly and in an aggressive manner.
The Consequences of Cyberbullying
This kind of bullying can happen at any point in your life through electronic media. The consequences can be serious and can happen rapidly.
- Physical: anxiety, stress, anger, sleep problems, eating disorders, self-harm, and in the most serious cases, suicide
- Psychological/emotional: difficulty concentrating, lower self-esteem, isolation, depression
Here are certain settings in which cyberbullying can occur:
At school, this phenomenon grows within as well as outside of school. Bullying can start out within the school establishment but can also continue outside of it. Generally, it will continue through social media, mobile phones, instant messaging, photo-sharing websites, and other digital medium. It’s from that moment on that we speak of cyberbullying in schools.
The consequences for the victims can affect moral, mental, and physical health, and can also affect their academics.
- 4% of married women say they have been cyberharassed.
- 7% of women in common-law marriages say they have been cyberharassed
- 12% of separated or divorced women say they have been cyberharassed
- 13% of single women (never married) say they have been cyberharassed
Source : Statistics Canada, General Social Survey on Canadians’ Safety (Victimization)
In Intimate Relationships
Cyberbullying is part of new forms of intimate violence which is aggressive, intrusive, and devastating for the victim as well as their family.
Everything can start with an encounter. Indeed, in 2012, a young 15-year-old Canadian girl named Amanda Todd ended her life following an encounter with a man on the Internet. She had shared personal information and pictures with the man, who then used them against her.
LOVE supports youth to thrive through programs and healthy relationships that build emotional intelligence and help overcome the challenges they face. Our participants emerge from LOVE’s programs with greater resilience, heightened skills, and the confidence to be inspirational leaders.