Bullying comes in many forms but, in the age of the Internet, today’s youth are highly susceptible to online abuse. Cyberbullying may come in the form of mean or hurtful comments online, which are combined with threats of violence to occur in the ‘real’ world. Some bullying can be sexual in nature, like threats to post nude images of you on the Internet or even threats of sexual violence. Despite this, many incidents of online abuse go unreported.
A 2016 survey of 5700 high school students between the ages of 12 and 17 found that over one third had been cyberbullied in their lifetime. Among these students, 20.1% were subjected to hurtful comments online while 12.2% were threatened with some form of violence. Unfortunately, reports suggest that only one in five cyberbullying threats are reported to the police, despite threats of violence or of a sexual nature. This is likely due to fear of further threats, violence or action being taken on these threats. Many young people may not be aware that what they are suffering is bullying or be aware that online harassment and threats are criminal offences.
The most effective way to tackle online bullying is to find out the facts. Cyberbullying is, in some ways, worse than traditional bullying as it can be carried out at any time and is not just confined to one place, such as school. It is also mainly psychological which can be very damaging to young people in the long term. If you are being bullied online or anywhere else, please do not suffer in silence. If you see someone being victimized in life or online, use this information to find out how you can help. Remembering that you are never to blame for someone else’s actions is the first step in tackling cyberbullying.
by Jenny Holt
Wanna read more of Jenny's writings? Find out more about the effects of bullying here.