First and foremost, all figures and quotes are from Australia as presented by Jeff Brand of Bond University found in their free lectures on iTunes U. If you haven’t seen these videos already I would suggest viewing them.
The aim of this post is to make clear the severity of cyber-bullying. Jeff makes a very important statement regarding the cyber aspect of cyber-bullying: “Bullying is bullying; no matter where it happens.” Cyber-bullying is simply bullying through technology. There is a fear about the use of the Internet, there always has been. The dangers on the Internet are apparent to us all and do not need to be listed, but we can protect ourselves from them (an aspect I will discuss later).
There are two billion users of the Internet worldwide. Two billion of us use the Internet on a regular basis. Of us using the Internet more and more of us are using mobile devices (mobile or cellular phones, tablets and so on), which as we know makes it much easier to access the Internet and the problem associated with our related topic, social networking.
To protect ourselves, cyber safety is required. We can protect ourselves and minors can be protected by their parents. I’ll look at three sites that you can protect yourself quite easily on if you feel like you are being bullied.
The poster child of social networking, Facebook, is the first we can look at. With an estimated 750 million people and rising on Facebook, there are likely to be those who would target a victim. How can you protect yourself? Easy, you can make your profile private. Too late? Block the bully. There is no shame in blocking someone on Facebook if they are giving you grief. It doesn’t have to be permanent, but as I said in previous posts, protect yourself at home at the very least.
How about Twitter? Other very simple means are available. If you “protect your tweets”, permission is required for an individual to even follow you, your tweets cannot be retweeted, and people cannot view your tweets or send them to you if they do not follow you. Once again, too late for preemptive action? Block the bully, it is as simple as that.
The complicated social network to protect yourself with is ask.fm. I’m not a user of this particular site, but I have witnessed some awful abuse on the site in question. I can only suggest that if you choose to create an ask.fm account, be prepared for the worst and be ready to delete your account if you find things get out of hand.
It is important to note, the Internet is not a place of evil. More people experience kindness as Jeff Brand states. I have made friends online, others have found love. The minority of people are abused online, and it is this minority that we all must stand up for and protect. Cyber bullying is an extension of bullying itself, an extension of the fact that we as people are open to abuse each other. Cyber bullying is in itself not even the most prominent form of bulling (by Australian standards in a survey of 1800 people), but in Ireland I can see its growth before my own eyes and it sickens me to the very core.
I’m not alone in this stand against bullying. It begins with each and every one of us until we, our friends, family, children and so on are safe in person and online. Share this set if posts, comment if you have queries, stories or links to other articles you think might be useful, and don’t be afraid to talk.
Thank you for reading.