A Guide to Cyberbullying Prevention and Awareness

panoramic shot of abuser sending offensive cyber bullying message

How to protect yourself and loved ones online from Cyberbullying

The introduction of social media platforms has made it easy for people to stay connected. The likes of Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and TikTok have allowed many to express themselves in ways they otherwise could not.

However, these same platforms make it difficult to remove oneself from the social challenges faced on a daily basis. This problem is particularly harmful to those who deal with bullying. 

The rise of social media has introduced a new form of bullying called cyberbullying. What was once confined to the office or classroom now occurs anywhere that has an online device. 

According to a study done by Florida Atlantic University, 34% of young people have experienced cyberbullying firsthand and 87% have witnessed cyberbullying occur. It is evident that cyberbullying is a huge issue in today’s world. 

C3 Pure Fibre is a proud supporter of anti-bullying initiatives and we provide options to help keep you and your family safe while online. Through offering Plume HomePass to our customers we make it easy for them to manage their devices in a positive way. 

The Plume HomePass App allows you to create user profiles and assign them to family members. Prevent cyberbullying by setting up time-outs and device freezes that can be implemented on an individual level or across the whole network. Stop cyberbullying in its tracks by limiting time spent on social media platforms.

Check out this link to learn more. 

Furthermore, it is important to define cyberbullying and understand its effects.

What is cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying can be defined as the act of harassing someone online by sending or posting mean messages, usually anonymously. Someone or a group of people intentionally target, harass or threaten someone repeatedly through digital media and online communication tools.

The effects of cyberbullying can be extremely detrimental, leading to ostracization and mental trauma. While the components that makeup cyberbullying may seem simple, it can take many different shapes and sizes, with different levels of severity and negative outcomes.

Check out this helpful resource for parents of children that are victims to cyberbullying.

Next, we’ll discuss the various forms of cyberbullying, as well as how to identify and prevent it.

Signs of Cyberbullying 

As with other forms of harassment, cyberbullying often goes unreported. This makes it extremely difficult to recognize the signs. We compiled some important things to look for if you think someone you know is a victim of cyberbullying. 

  • Noticeable increase or decrease in phone use
  • Becoming upset or angry after phone use
  • Frequent, unexpected mood swings
  • Reluctance to go to school or work 
  • Unexplained decline in performance
  • Unwillingness to share information about their online accounts
  • Rapid weight gain or loss, trouble eating, stomachaches
  • Withdrawing from close friends and family
  • Signs of depression or anxiety

Visit this page to learn more about cyberbullying awareness

Cyberbullying Prevention Tips 

  • Teach internet safety and how to properly conduct oneself on social media, ex. don’t pose revealing photos or overly personal information.
  • Do not friend strangers, allow only trusted friends and family members to view posts.
  • Report instances of cyberbullying to social networking sites where they take place 

Next, we will discuss some common types of cyberbullying.

Harassment 

The repeated onslaught of negative, hurtful, or threatening messages through text messages or on a social media platform. Harassment attempts to attack the victim’s self-esteem and sense of safety with repeated threats and insults.

This form of cyberbullying can also include sending cruel and unwanted jokes that make the recipient feel uncomfortable. It often manifests itself in a group setting with one member of a chat group becoming the target of hurtful messages, or through the victim’s private messages being shared.

Learn more in this 2021 Pew Research study that shows the alarming statistics of online harassment.

Cyberstalking & Sexual Harassment 

The act of continuous, unwanted romantic advances online. This often occurs after a break-up or rejection of initial advances and consists of threats, sexually explicit texts, and pleas for attention.

Online sexual harassment can also fit into this category. A severe, yet common example consists of frequent threats of rape or sexual assault. Examples of online sexual harassment include sending repeated and unwanted pornographic images, recording and/or distributing images of sexual assault, and non-consensually sharing sexually explicit images of someone. 

This National Sexual Violence Resource Centre fact sheet shows the prevalence of sexual harassment in our society. 

Exclusion 

A different form of bullying includes cutting someone out of a group, photo album, or social event. Exclusion intends to make the victim feel bad by leaving him or her out of a social circle to which they once belonged. 

This usually occurs with harassment or another form of cyberbullying. The group members also insult the victim amongst themselves which aims to further ostracize the victim.

young girl in bedroom worried by cyber bullying text message

Trolling 

Posting malicious and provocative comments in a message board or social media. The intent here is to incite an extreme reaction from the victim. This is usually done in the form of taunts or insults regarding the victim’s personal opinion or beliefs. Trolling is often done anonymously, and the perpetrator may not have any relationship with the victim or even know them at all.

This interesting Statista poll shows the percentage of trolling by platform, with the most prevalent being social media at 38 percent.

Impersonation (AKA “Imping”) 

Posing as another person and sending messages or sharing content to damage relationships or to embarrass the victim. Impersonation can be particularly devastating if the cyberbully obtains the username and password of the victim’s Facebook, or Instagram account. The damage can take a long time to mend if hundreds of peers catch sight of the material online.

Denigration & Defamation

The posting of mean-spirited gossip and rumors with the intent of harming the victim’s reputation and relationships. The truthfulness of the statements or rumors often does not matter, and they can achieve the same devastating effect. Once a group is exposed to a particularly shocking rumor, it can have a snowball effect. The victim will find it extremely difficult to shed the attached stigma. 

Outing & Doxxing 

Sharing revealing photos or personal messages with revealing information in a public forum or within a larger social group. This often occurs after a bad breakup and may include the public posting of revealing photos intended only for the former romantic partner.

Outing is particularly devastating when it involves the public reveal of the victim’s sexual orientation before they are prepared to publicize that information. Cases of outing have resulted in victim suicides

Doxxing is the online publication of private information about someone or revealing their identification when wanting to remain private or anonymous. This is done to encourage others to harass them. This includes hacking into personal accounts and posting personal information. Additionally, the offender will often compile publicly available information to share with other people allowing anyone to easily target the victim.

Report cyberbullying

Below are links to each social network’s page where you can report cyberbullying on the site:

Abuse and Spam on Instagram

Report abuse on Snapchat

Report abuse on Twitter

Report bullying on Facebook

Youtube’s harassment and cyberbullying policy

Unfortunately, cyberbullying is a pervasive issue in our world today. We hope you have found this guide and the supporting links helpful in learning more about the various types, effects and signs of cyberbullying. 

Chat to a C3 Customer Service Representative to see how C3 Pure Fibre can protect you and your family. Switch or upgrade today, just email info@c3.ky or call 333-3333. 

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