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 What is Cyberbullying? 

Cyberbullying  is bullying that takes place on digital platforms. They occur through SMS, Text, applications, or on online social media, forums, or gaming. The act includes sending, posting, or sharing harmful information or content about someone else. Cyberbullying can cross the line into unlawful or criminal behavior, and must be addressed if it happens. Cyberbullying has its unique concerns in that it is a relatively new concept, and has different attributes to it from a confrontational, face to face bullying situation. They are persistent, permanent, and hard to notice. By persistence, the digital devices offer an ability to immediately and continuously to communicate, so it is relatively more difficult to find relief. By permanence, most information communicated electronically is permanent, and can be captured an stored into memory. Thus, a negative online reputation could impact employment or even college admissions. They are also often hard to notice or harder to recognize by overseers due to the fact that users can remain anonymous. 

Where does Cyberbullying Usually Occur?

Cyberbullying occurs mostly through these following platforms. 

  • Social Media Platforms: Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat, and Tik Tok
  • Text Messaging or Messaging Apps on Mobile Devices or Tablet Devices 
  • Instant Messaging, Direct Messaging, and Online Chatting over the Internet 
  • Online Forums, chat rooms, message boards 

Forms of Cyberbullying 

Cyberbullying commonly occurs through these following tactics 

  • Hurtful posts or comments that includes mean, hurtful, or embarrassing rumors 
  • Threatening to hurt someone 
  • Posting private, harmful, or mean videos
  • Pretending to be someone else while being online in order to post personal information online 
  • Posting mean or hurtful comments, contents about racism, religion, or ethnicity
  • Creating harmful webpages including false information 
  • Threatening to destroy the privacy of individuals by making their personal information public, including addresses, social security, credit card, phone numbers, or their links to social media accounts 


Prevent Cyberbullying

There are ways to reduce the likelihood of becoming a victim of a cyberbully. There are ways to implement safety measures as well as have ongoing conversations about cyberbullying. First and foremost, to prevent behaviors like catfishing, it is important to be aware of the passwords and extra protection on accounts and devices. Your child should never be sharing passwords with anyone, even with their best friends. Privacy tools and settings must be used as almost every social media app has privacy settings. Each account has the ability to remain private, and this is effective in preventing people from tagging the account, and makes it a requirement for other people to get permission before sharing their photos. Personal information should be kept private, as kids should never be sharing their addresses, cell phone numbers, or their email online. Sharing too much information online, especially if they have friends that they don't know well, can be very detrimental. People are not always transparent about their identities, and it is likely that the person behind the account may be a really different person from what they claim to be. Location sharing can be managed, as some smartphones allow users to be kept track of where they are. However, this can be very revealing, especially harmful if wanting to keep their personal information private. Some smartphones allow uses to share their locations with friends, but one must refrain from sharing their vacation pictures, or any revealing information without being aware of the dangers it poses. Before posting, one must think about the possible consequences that correlates to the posting. For instance, when creating a post, one should take about half an hour to consider the consequences that may result from the post. Cyberbullies can take the posted material and use it against them, or the material posted may simply might not be something that should be said publicly. Finally to respond to cyberbullies, one should not engage in arguments with the cyberbully by any means. Since cyberbullies are looking for emotional responses, it is important to ignore direct confrontation, but rather addressed by taking screenshots of the harassment to save it as proof of the encounter. Most importantly, cyberbullying should always be reported. This includes telling the parents what is happening, but also letting the social media platform, social media provider, or any necessary parties of what is going on. Once all of the reports have been filed, appropriate steps are needed tp block the person or account them responsible for the cyberbullying. Most often, kids are cyberbullied by people they know, so standing up for the victims could be helpful in preventing future cyberbullying incidents, especially if the cyberbully is not getting the reaction that they want. 


Effects of Cyberbullying 

People that experience harassment through cyberbullying may experience physical symptoms as well as mental stresses. They include stomachaches, headaches, skin conditions, or other physical ailments. Sleeping and eating habits may be impacted by cyberbullying, and victims may use crash dieting or binge eating to cope with the harassment. For students. their grades and extracurriculars may suffer through cyberbullying, because it consumes their energy. Kids who report being ostracized at school, or adults who face isolation in the workplace face about  the same amount stress and symptoms that follow a cyberbully victim. 

Cyberbullying and South Asian Population

According to a study directed to research the social stigma, self esteem, and the cyberbullying of Asians, the recent COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the already harassed population of South Asians in the cyber community by the increased use. Findings by the University of Jordan found that cyberbullying contributes to low self esteem in students of the East and Southeast Asian descent populations. Men were more likely to be bullies than women, and the bullies have admitted that the main reason for bullying was for humor. Most categorized themselves as unaware of their ignorant behaviors, as they have contributed to the racism among the internet community. The spread of the COVID-19 began in the city of Wuhan, and the rise of xenophobia has led to the creation of memes, comments, and media outlets that grew acts of xenophobia, segregation, brutality, and bigotry against individuals of the South Asian descent. Victimization of the individuals from Asia, and those near the country has been increasing since then. Statements made in media, government officials, and social media platforms are more likely to target Asians, especially of Southeast Asian descent. 

Helpful Resource to Cope with and End Cyberbullying:

It is very important to report and let others be aware of the bullying, if it has occurred. This can be done by recording evidence that fall under harassment, through such means of reputational attacks and identity theft. To prevent cyberbullying from occurring, use the 3Cs to identify the possible risks through cyberbullying. The three Cs stand for contact, content, and cost. Contact risks are risks that relate to the direct communication features, which can be identified as mechanisms of contact, messaging, emails, or other platforms that allow communication. Content risks are all information that includes information from  media,music, video, or text content. Cost embodies the risks of targeted advertising, identity theft, lawsuit risks, and viruses which can bring significant financial damage. Being aware of the possible risks and dangers will allow one to be "smart consumers", making the right choices for one. 

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