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What is Cyberbullying?

The Internet is the most helpful tool of our time, allowing for totally new types of social connection, activity, and organization. Its core properties, such as universal use and accessibility, have made this possible. Cyberbullying, for example, can lead to undesired acts that are demeaning or hazardous to others. This is a relatively recent occurrence.

Cyberbullying is briefly defined as the anonymous posting of hurtful words about another person on the internet. A cyberbully engages in negative behavior toward another person by creating a fake profile with damaging or false information about the victim, posting an embarrassing picture or video of the victim, spreading rumors about the victim via social media sites, and sending threatening or derogatory text messages or emails to the victim.

Brenda Morrison (Director of the Centre for Restorative Justice and an Associate Professor in the School of Criminology) describes the characteristics of cyberbullying in more detail:

  • Takes away the sense of security that comes with being at home.
  • Harsh and insulting; it allows the bully to avoid seeing the hurt in the other one.
  • Embarrassing, because the audience may be the entire world, ever.
  • Because it is "virtually" anonymous, it might conceal the bully's identity or allow them to imitate someone; not knowing who is abusing you causes uncertainty and social anxiety.
  • Seems unavoidable; the connected world allows people to communicate with others at any time and in almost any location (for both positive and bad purposes).

Cyberbullying is widespread among students in elementary, intermediate, and high schools ages 9 to 18. Cyberbullying is a severe problem that affects not only the young victims, but also their families, the bully, and anyone who witnesses cyberbullying. Cyberbullying, on the other hand, can have the greatest negative impact on the victim, since they may experience a variety of emotional disorders that influence their social and academic performance, as well as their general mental health. According to the research, cyberbullied victims are more likely to experience depression, isolation, low self-esteem, school phobia, and social anxiety. Cyberbullying can be even more destructive than traditional bullying because it "intensifies the victim's feelings" - Dr. Allan Beane.

What are Cyberbullying Methods?

Cyberbullying includes the use of information and communication technologies such as e-mail, mobile phone and pager messages, instant messaging, false and misleading personal websites, blogs, online games, and defamatory online polling websites, to support deliberate, repeated, and abusive behavior by an individual or group that is meant to hurt others.

Primary cyberbullying methods are explained below:

1. In Gaming

Playing videogame is a common pastime among young people, with 70% of those under the age of 18 doing so. Some games are single-player only, while others are multi-player. Multiplayer games, whether played on a computer, a console, a handheld device, a smartphone, or a tablet, allow players to play with others they know in real life as well as those they meet online. 65 percent of all video game players admit to playing with others. Role-playing games, action games, shooter games, sports games, and fighting games are all examples of video games. Educational games such as sandbox/build/construct games, puzzle games, and others are also available.

Playing video games can improve a person's mental, emotional, and social abilities. It can also assist youngsters and teenagers in improving their problem-solving and strategic planning abilities. Multiplayer team games may assist young people in learning how to work together. While gaming has the potential to positively, it may also be a source of cyberbullying. If someone isn't performing well in a game, other players may cuss or make harsh remarks, which can evolve into bullying, or even ban the individual from participating in the game altogether.

Because players are anonymous and avatars are used, users may develop alter-egos or fictitious versions of themselves, which is part of the pleasure of gaming. It does, however, allow users to harass, bully, and occasionally group upon other gamers. Some users may use the game to abuse others or obtain personal information such as usernames and passwords from them. They can even use a technique known as "doxing" to make other people's personal information available online. Doxing may reveal not only a child's personal information but also that of their parents, making them targets of bullying and abuse.

Parents may protect their children who play video games avoid cyberbullying by doing the following:

  • Cyberbullying and how to respond to it should be taught to children, as well as how to avoid clicking on links from unknown people, downloading bots (software that performs repetitive tasks), and following links in gaming forums.
  • Creating limits on the amount of time a youngster may spend playing video games.
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By installing and setting the Zenarmor in your home network to restrict access to video gaming websites, you may simply and swiftly protect your children from cyberbullying.

Zenarmor enables parents to totally block access to gaming websites deemed inappropriate for children or to permit access to certain gaming websites for a certain time period.

Zenarmor allows you to block individual applications as well as entire categories of applications.

  • Maintaining an open channel of communication with your youngster regarding his or her digital existence.
  • Playing with your child or monitoring the game to have a better understanding of how it works and what children are exposed to.
  • Checking in with your youngster about who is online and playing the game with them regularly.
  • Knowing which gaming societies, social platforms, and applications your kid uses when gaming and their potential threats that you can learn online.
  • Assist your youngster in configuring the privacy and security settings for his or her games and applications.

If you're suffering cyberbullying or seeing it happen to others while gaming, there are a few things you can do:

  • Take a break from the game and relax.
  • Tell the player who is bullying you to put an end to it.
  • Block the harassing person from the game and unfriend them on social media and in gaming forums.
  • Bullying in the gaming industry should be reported to the gaming organization, team, platform, community, or developers.
  • Notify a parent or a responsible adult, and get help.

2. In Search Engines

As people use the Internet to communicate and share their opinions, personal information became more widely available. It could be a profile that was created years ago that hasn't been deleted and still exist on the net. A search engine (especially Google) is an information platform that aggregates bits and pieces of data from the internet. In so much that searching for oneself or people you've met or wish to meet online has been nicknamed "Googling" by the new age.

Sure to be useful in the right hands but the consequences of having your personal information published online may be devastating. On internet sites, bullies can share private and personal photos, publicize humiliating material about them, and can share it with others. According to studies in the literature, cyberbullies might develop websites to damage others.

Some of the more severe forms of cyberbullying involve the victim's personal information being made public. Even if the information is false, it may be humiliating. Because the internet is seen as a permanent record, with search engines and online histories being retained for years, the victim may feel humiliated and anxious about the possibility that humiliating material might follow them about for the rest of their lives. It might have a substantial impact on their future careers, educational chances, and relationships, whether actual or perceived.

In addition, another point to be noted in this regard is "google bombs". Bullies utilize Google bombs (a phrase that may be applied to any search engine) to boost the visibility of favorite postings ranked by the most popular searches by connecting to them from as many other websites as possible. Regardless of how real the pages are, Google bombs can control the Internet's search engines, but there is a means to fight this form of manipulation.

It is a tactic that, at the time, could significantly harm a person's or a brand's image, and might even be hazardous if it fell into the wrong hands. Google bomb is one of the so-called "Black Hat" techniques for boosting a page's or website's rating by abusing Google's algorithmic flaws. It's all about inflating the number of pages linking to a target page and over-optimizing the anchor texts for the links in this case. This is a "dirty" strategy that is less professional than a true SEO effort. George Bush was the victim of the most well-known Google bombing in 2004. Thousands of links to his biography, which was publicized on the official White House website, have been created with the anchor "miserable failure". As a result, the page was linked to this request.

If you believe you have been a victim of Google Bombing, you can file a report with the search engine, which will look into it. With a substantial algorithm upgrade, Google put an end to these methods. Other search engines, such as Yahoo and Bing, are, sadly, still affected by Google Bombing.

3. In Social Media

Children can communicate and express their ideas, interact with friends, and share their thoughts via digital media and applications. However, they may be exploited as a platform for cyberbullying. There are a variety of free applications and websites that allow users to search for persons and anonymously exchange or post information about them.

Cyberbullying may be disguised through applications and sites in a variety of ways, including texts, videos, and online calls that vanish or do not display in the device's call or text message records.

Many applications also make it simple for users to find, view, and interact with pornographic or hazardous content. They may be more exposed to stalking, cyberbullying, and exposure to adult content as a result of their privacy and location settings.

Many advantages of social media must be considered against the threats it causes. The following are some of the dangers to be aware of:

  • The amount of time that websites and applications are screened for harmful information varies greatly.
  • It is possible that the content uploaded is inaccurate, dangerous, or cruel.
  • Harmful or inappropriate content can be shared through apps and platforms.
  • Apps and platforms may provide to people of all ages, allowing toddlers to interact with adults.
  • For chats, groups, and forums that enable all sorts of information to be submitted or shared, apps and platforms cannot have an administrator.
  • All sorts of material may be posted or shared via apps and platforms.
  • Apps have different privacy restrictions for who may see or access uploaded content, and many users are unaware of how to utilize them properly.
  • Apps that allow for "streaming live" of real-time user recordings can be used to highlight bullying, violence, suicide, and other destructive behaviors as they occur.
  • Some apps using location data can be used to get private information, such as an individual's age, present location, or residence.
  • Apps that sustain phone calls don't even show up on call history, so families may not know who their children are speaking to.

Some current popular social media venues and apps include: Amino / Askfm / Calculator% / Chatroulette / Discord / Facebook and Facebook Live / Facebook Messenger Kids / Houseparty / Instagram / Kik / Line / LiveMe / MeetMe / Omegle / Reddit / Roblox / Sarahah / Snapchat / Telegram / TikTok / Tumblr / Twitch / Twitter / VSCO / WeChat / WhatsApp / Whisper / YouTube / YUBO (formerly YELLOW): An app referred to as the "Tinder for teens" / YouNow / etc.

Parents may make an educated decision about how or whether their kids will use apps, platforms, and games by learning about the risks, critical security aspects, and other facts regarding the applications, platforms, and games that their children wish to use.

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Zenarmor is a very useful and effective cybersecurity solution that allows parents to control and restrict their children from accessing social media platforms. You can block sites such as YouTube, TikTok, and HouseParty on internet-connected home devices such as phones, tablets, or computers. You can schedule internet downtime at home to spend quality time with your family, complete homework, or allow your children to perform their tasks without being distracted. With cloud-based management, you can easily configure network settings at home or on the move.

The Children's Internet Protection Act (CIPA) is a law designed to keep children safe online. Your CIPA-compliant Acceptable Use Policies can be created in minutes. They are effective and efficient thanks to ZENARMOR's real content filtering technology. You can develop CIPA-compliant Internet Safety Policies using ZENARMOR's very simple policy management.

Why Do People Cyberbullying?

What drives someone to bully another person online? One idea is that cyberbullies have difficulties empathizing with others. Increased use of technology and less real-world social connection have both been linked to low empathy. But, this is only one part of the problem of cyberbullying.

A bully might also feel more powerful as a result of cyberbullying. A cyberbully may simply and efficiently unleash a torrent of anguish at any moment, all from the safety and comfort of their own home, with little fear of consequences. Another element is a lack of parental supervision, as well as a desire to gain popularity through activities that they believe would appeal to their friends and companions.

Current or past friends are more likely to engage in cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is said to be seven times more common among young people who know each other than among those who have never met or dated. This is frequently the result of a simple disagreement. It might also be because someone has a secret about someone else they want to share. There may also be an element of vengeance in response to a perceived violation by the bully. Another cause is envy, as well as a desire to better their social standing. In most cases, girls are twice as likely as boys to be victims of cyberbullying. Because the bully and the victim were formerly friends, the impacts of cyberbullying are frequently more devastating.

What is Cyberbullying Harms?

In a real-life bullying situation, the majority of incidences occur at school between the victim and a bully (or group of bullies). These occurrences can vary from basic name-calling to more serious acts of bullying, such as spreading rumors, harassment, threats, and bodily violence. While victims of real-world bullying may be afforded a break when they return home, there is no such thing as a reprieve when it comes to cyberbullying. When the school bell sounds, cyberbullying does not stop. It may happen at any time, at any hour of the day or night. It can take the shape of text messages, social media postings, chatroom communications, manipulated photographs and videos, and a variety of other digital formats.

Victims of cyberbullying have few options for defending themselves. There are no instructors or parents there to see what is going on and intervene to stop it. The bully can simply start a new account if the victim knows who the abuser is and decides to block them on social media. They can also send an SMS, send a message, or utilize a friend's account. If a victim is truly concerned about cyberbullying, there is little they can do to stop it.

Cyberbullying is, in essence, more persistent, brutal, and harmful than traditional bullying. It is also one of the major sources of stress in the life of a young person. While children who are bullied frequently try to keep such incidents hidden from their parents, if they are a victim of cyberbullying regularly, their conduct might alter dramatically.

What is the Effect of Cyberbullying on Children?

The possibility to connect and assist others has risen as the globe becomes more linked through social media and other types of technological communication. There is, however, another aspect to this connection to consider. According to information from open sources, at least once in their lives, 36.5 percent of teenagers and over 40 percent of adults say they have been victims of cyberbullying.

There are emotional, mental, behavioral, and physical consequences of cyberbullying. Emotional effects can be listed as follows:

  • Humiliation: Because search engines and site histories are maintained for many years on the internet, the victim may feel humiliated and anxious about the prospect that humiliating material might follow them around for the rest of their lives.
  • Isolation: Often, the only method for victims to avoid bullies online is to avoid social media sites where their friends and relatives are present. This can exacerbate feelings of loneliness.
  • Angry: It's one of the most common responses to cyberbullying, according to cyberbullying data. While it's natural to be unhappy, unresolved anger can lead to threatening acts of violence against bullies, loved ones, or innocent community members.
  • Impotence: Because information spreads so fast on the internet, families, and authorities may find it difficult to keep cyberbullying at bay. Shutting down accounts can only be done so quickly, if at all. Cyberbullies may reappear on multiple networks under new identities. As a result, the victim begins to believe that any attempt to resolve the situation would be worthless.

The victim's mental condition may also be affected, with several noticeable consequences:

  • Anxiety/depression: While a victim of cyberbullying may already be experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety, even individuals who have never had these issues may find it difficult to handle. They may believe that things will never get better or that it is pointless to strive to stay strong, making it difficult for victims to cope with cyberbullying.
  • Low self-confidence: Low self-esteem can exacerbate cyberbullying difficulties, whether they believe some of the things stated about them or just don't believe they are valued enough to seek treatment.
  • Issues in academia: Cyberbullying can cause tension and concern, which can make it difficult to study and concentrate on education. The victim's mental condition may also be affected, with several noticeable consequences.
  • Suicidal ideation and self-injury: Self-harm activities such as cutting or other forms of self-harm might appear in children who have never thought of it before. A cyberbullying victim may believe that the only way to resolve the situation is to attempt suicide in the worst-case scenario. If you feel this is occurring to a cyberbullying victim, take action right once to get them to protect and seek expert treatment.

The effects on behavior can be listed as follows:

  • Using alcohol and drugs
  • Missed school
  • Carrying weapons
  • Risky sexual behavior

Physical concerns, including changes in the victim's physique, may occur as a result of cyberbullying:

  • Problems with the digestive system: Stomach aches might indicate an anxiety issue, a digestive ailment, or even an ulcer.
  • Eating disorders: A victim may choose to participate in anorexic or bulimic eating practices for a variety of reasons. Bullying overweight or appearance may lead to fad diets or harmful weight loss attempts.
  • Difficulties in sleep: Nightmares, night terrors, sleepwalking, and other unusual sleeping episodes may indicate that a prospective victim's sleeping habits are being influenced by online contacts.
![What is the Effect of Cyberbullying on Children?](/img/resources/netsec/what-is-cyberbullying/what-is-the-effect-of-cyberbullying-on-children.png "What is the Effect of Cyberbullying on Children?")

Figure 1. What is the Effect of Cyberbullying on Children?

Is Cyberbullying Illegal?

There are already laws in place in forty-eight states in the USA that handle cyberbullying in some way, with all of them addressing school-aged children. The US government published a map of state-by-state cyberbullying laws and regulations. Every state has laws requiring schools to handle bullying. Because of the increased prevalence of cyberbullying as a result of technological improvements, numerous states have changed their laws to include or refer to cyberbullying charges. Schools may act following the law or by municipal or school regulations that enable them to penalize students or take other actions. Bullying is also addressed in certain jurisdictions if it has an impact on school achievement.

Which Country has the Highest Rate of Cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is a worldwide issue, not only in the United States. It is, in fact, a worldwide problem. India, Brazil, and the United States are the top three nations where cyberbullying is most widespread, however, it occurs worldwide.

According to social media cyberbullying statistics, cyberbullying on social media is one of the top concerns for parents all over the world. While many countries are seeking to enact anti-bullying laws, the best preventive solution has yet to be created, and many individuals are displeased with how bullying is handled. So far in 2018, India has had the highest percentage of youngsters being victims of cyberbullying. Over 37% of Indian parents say their children have been victims of cyberbullying at least once.

What Country has the Lowest Rate of Cyberbullying?

The proportion of parents with children who have been cyberbullied is on the rise, according to Ipsos' analysis of the data of an international poll of persons in 28 countries. More parents in Europe and America appear to be aware of their children's unpleasant experiences with cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is becoming more common among children. According to information from open sources about the lowest rate of cyberbullying in the world, it can be stated that parents in Russia and Japan have great confidence that their children are not exposed to any cyberbullying.

How to Prevent Cyberbullying?

Many know about it, but there are even fewer who know how to respond when they are a victim of it. Witnesses rarely respond, mostly because they are afraid of the consequences of becoming involved.

Take measures to explore a child's digital activities if you detect warning indicators that he or she may be involved in cyberbullying. Cyberbullying is a kind of bullying, and adults should respond in the same way: encourage the victimized kid, confront the bullying conduct of a participant, and show children that cyberbullying is handled seriously. Reacting to cyberbullying necessitates a different approach due to the nature of the medium. If you suspect that your child is being cyberbullied, you can take the following steps:

  • Recognize whether there has been a shift in mood or behavior, and investigate what could be causing it. Consider if these changes occur as a result of a child's usage of digital media.
  • Ask questions to discover more about what's going on, how it started, and who's involved.
  • Keep a note of what is going on and where it is happening. If at all feasible, take screenshots of potentially dangerous posts or information. Bullying is a recurrent act, according to most laws and rules, therefore records help document it.
  • And report bullying. The vast majority of social media sites and schools have clear rules and reporting procedures in place. If a classmate is cyberbullying must be reported to the school. You may also report objectionable content to apps or social media sites and get it deleted. Report a possible crime or unlawful activity to the police if a kid has received physical threats or if a possible crime or illegal behavior is underway.
  • In situations where negative or cruel information is posted about a kid, peers, mentors, and trustworthy adults can publicly act to positively affect the situation. To try to turn the discourse in a good direction, public intervention might involve posting nice remarks about the individual who is being bullied. It might also be helpful to voice your concern to the youngster who is bullying and the target of the bullying. If feasible, assess whether more professional assistance is required for people involved, such as meeting with a counselor or mental wellbeing expert.

How Do I Report Cyberbullying to Police or Law Enforcement?

When these activities are mixed with cyberbullying, it is deemed a crime that must be reported to authorities:

  • Threats of violence
  • Sending sexually explicit messages or photographs to children
  • Taking a picture or video of someone at a place where he or she expects privacy
  • Hate crimes and stalking

Other types of cyberbullying are considered illegal in some states. For further information, check with your state's laws and law enforcement.

BULLYING & CYBERBULLYING HELPLINES

CHILDLINE (UK) 0800 1111

STOP BULLYING NOW HOTLINE (USA) 1-800-273-8255

KIDS HELPLINE (AUS) 1-800 55 1800

NSPCC HELPLINE (UK) 0808 800 5000

YOUNG MINDS (UK) 0808 802 5544

KIDS HELP PHONE (CANADA) 800-668-6868

What is Anti Cyberbullying Law?

There were no formal cyberbullying laws in place until the mid-2000s. Legislators, on the other hand, have not been ignorant of the rising number of high-profile suicide and violence in schools occurrences. In the USA, in some states, law enforcement is handled by school personnel. Cyberbullying is frequently regarded as a civil rather than a criminal concern in these situations. Most states have school sanctions for off-campus cyberbullying, but only a few states hold bullies accountable for their actions both on- and off-campus.

The key distinction between state cyberbullying laws is whether they impose administrative or criminal penalties. For example, Florida mandates school regulations but leaves criminal charges undefined. A cyberbullying offender in Missouri can be prosecuted in criminal court, but only for threats of violence. As a result, depending on state legislation, cyberbully sanctions can vary from school suspension or expulsion to time in jail.

Given the significance of the Anti-Cyberbullying Policy, rules should investigate and respond to reports of bullying, as well as prevent student bullying. Bullying occurrences between students that interfere with a student's educational prospects or significantly disturb the orderly running of a classroom, school, or school-sponsored or school-related activity should be prevented and resolved. Regulations must ban retribution against anyone who in good faith reports or gives information about a bullying incident.

Here are a few other regulations needed to combat cyberbullying. Anti Cyberbullying implementation can;

  • Describe what steps a child should take to get help and intervention.

  • Identify the various counseling options available to children who are witnesses to, victims of, or dealing with bullying.

  • Establishing procedures for reporting a bullying incident (including anonymous reporting procedures), investigating a bullying report, and determining whether or not the alleged bullying incident took place.

  • Forbids disciplinary action if the student who is found to be a victim of bullying has defended himself in response to the bullying.

  • Ensure that any disciplinary action taken against a student with a disability complies with federal laws, including the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (IDEA).

Is Catfishing a Form of Cyberbullying?

Catfishing is the practice of creating a fake identity and then connecting with someone with the intention of "luring" them into a relationship. This might range from casual flirtation to long-term relationships.

There are a variety of reasons why someone may engage in a fake relationship, ranging from boredom to damaging ulterior goals. Low self-esteem, wanting to make jokes, revenge, fraud, and most dangerous can be grooming.

Catfishing and cyberbullying are inextricably linked. Cyberbullying is when someone pretends to be someone else online. Catfishing is considered cyberbullying since it is purposeful conduct that has the potential to cause emotional harm to another person. Teenagers are particularly vulnerable to catfishing because they frequently befriend strangers, but other vulnerable people are also in danger. This is especially frightening for the less experienced since teenagers tend to reveal much too much personal information, particularly their emotions and everyday lives, to strangers.

History of Cyberbullying

With the introduction of affordable PC in the 1990s, traditional bullying found its way onto the internet. Since then, children and teenagers have been vulnerable to cyberbullying in public chatrooms and private messaging platforms by peers (and even strangers). Because of the anonymity of the internet, a user might harass or threaten others without fear of penalties.

After many teen suicides as a consequence of internet abuse, cyberbullying became widespread. Megan Meier, a 13-year-old who died by suicide in 2007 after neighbors harassed her by creating a false Myspace page under the name "Josh Evans," was one of the first incidents. The culprits were convicted guilty of conspiracy and unlawful computer usage by a federal grand jury, but they were later acquitted. Meier's case prompted Missouri to enact an anti-harassment statute that included acts of cyberbullying. This is just one; many young people committed suicide as a result of cyberbullying.

When cellphones became the newest must-have piece of technology in the mid-2000s, cyberbullying took off. Text messages and images might potentially be shared with unprecedented ease by teenagers.

We've moved past the history of cyberbullying, yet it still happens on a variety of social media sites and applications. In a few hours, a 10-second Snapchat post may cross platforms and go popular on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Anyone around the globe may watch and comment on public YouTube videos.

People are becoming more aware of the problem, which is not surprising considering that cyberbullying has been on the increase for years. Anti-bullying legislation has certainly aided in raising awareness. Governments all across the globe are striving to manage and prevent cyberbullying, and worldwide awareness of the issue is growing. Many social media sites are also attempting to combat the problem. Finally, teach your children about cyberbullying, including what it is, how it occurs, and how to avoid it. Education, as always, is the only genuine remedy.