Do you remember, at school, that fat and arrogant kid who used to snatch everybody’s lunch during the lunch break or ask a meek “padaku” kid to do all his homework and assignments. What was he called? A “BULLY” because of his sheer arrogance and domination. This domination was at a different level altogether. In today’s time, we have moved more towards “virtual reality” from the realities around us so has the form of bullying shifted from “physical” to “digital” , as the age in which we live in becomes more “technology-driven”.
Now that fat bully boy has hidden himself behind the garb of 0’s and 1’s and we now know him by a new name that is a “CYBER BULLY” giving rise to a concept known as “CYBER BULLYING”. The magnitude of domination and harm that is done here is at a different dimension than a simple physical bully. The major source of “this” is the internet and the segment of society who are mostly affected by this phenomenon are “adolescents/teenagers” because they are the ones who spend most of their time on the internet.
The effects of this problem is more like a slow poison. The ramifications of cyber bullying is slowly gripping most of the teenagers today and finally chocking them. The forms of cyber bullying is multi-variant and gives enough reasons for the society to worry.
A girl being called as a “nerd”, “weirdo”, “boring”, “fatso” so on and so forth by a boy on an online chat session just because the girl had said “I am not interested”…shows the negativity of that boy but more significantly displays the psychological stress that the girl faces. The self-esteem and dignity of that girl is tarnished and that girl enters into the depressive ambit of loneliness which often ends up in drastic consequences such as “Emotional Damage/Nervous Breakdowns/Suicide”. Nowadays ironically it has been trending to only talk about suicide and depression but in the due course we forget that cyber bullying also significantly contributes to this psychological disease.
Cyberbullies may disclose victims’ personal data (e.g. real name, home address, or workplace/schools) on websites or forums, or may use impersonation, creating fake accounts, comments or sites posing as their target for the purpose of publishing material in their name that defames, discredits or ridicules them. One of the example of such defamation is “INTERNET TROLLING”. Trolling someone for even purpose of fun may also result into deep psychological distress. Internet trolls intentionally try to provoke or offend others in order to elicit a reaction.
“Body shaming tweets” and other sexist remarks also form a part a cyber-bullying and can be used as a tool by few “pervert mentalities” which also results into increased crime against females of the society.
“Cyber stalking” is a major form of threatening over the internet. It has become a nightmare for many because this is considered more dangerous than other forms of cyberbullying because it generally involves a credible threat to the victim’s safety. Cyber stalkers may send repeated messages intended to threaten or harass. They may encourage others to do the same, either explicitly or by impersonating their victim and asking others to contact them.
The world also saw the emergence of the dangerous game “BLUE WHALE” and it’s dares over the internet which no longer remained a “cool stuff”, as it took away many innocent lives.
Now the onus lies with the responsible and aware citizens to stop this “Digital Catastrophe”,there are laws which are implemented in countries like USA, Canada, UK etc to prevent cyber bullying. In our nation, we too need to spread awareness at all levels and in all capabilities, to educate, mostly teenagers, to be more “aware/learned and cautious” while going “online”.
However, what else can be done?
In criminology, one of the most important and enduring theories relates to our “social bond,” a concept first put forth by Travis Hirschi in 1969 related to his work with delinquent boys. In what is termed social control theory, the basic argument is that kids are much less likely to get into trouble (i.e., engage in wrongdoing) if they have high levels of –
1) Social Attachment
3) Social/Family Involvement
Same could be applied to prevent cyber bullying too and protect the innocent lives. It is high time that we as society ponder over this new virtual demon…As when we make “FRIENDS online” it is much more we are making than just FRIENDSHIP….
Time to put our thinking hats on.