March 16, 2020
We often think of bullying as an aggressive behavior which can be physical or verbal, in person or online.
Cyber-bullying takes place over digital devices that include the posting, sending, or sharing of harmful, negative, false and hurtful comments. These are a source of embarrassment or humiliation to the person concerned.
With bullying being a global social and public health problem, it affects not only the matured youth but also a majority of children. Elementary and middle school aged children tend to bully and be bullied more than other age groups, but this trend decreases with growing age. However, during the middle school phase, there is a decrease in physical bullying and an increase in verbal, social and electronic bullying.
It has been estimated that nearly 10 to 15% of children cyber bully and are cyber bullied repeatedly. Between ages six to nine years, most children are introduced to email and social media platforms in school, unaware of the dangers of misuse these platforms can have, thereby initiating and participating in the bullying process.
The age group of 10 to 12 is well versed with this technology however. They are especially vulnerable to the threat of exclusion and the innate need to be a part of a pack and not be excluded digitally and physically, which makes them apt at, interacting, and posting and participating in bullying.
The age group of 15 to 17 years who are raised in this existing environment are vulnerable to threats cyber stalking and harassment. As the percentage of cyber-bullying increases, as does the time spent on social media. This can and usually does lead to serious forms of bad judgement, psychological dysfunction, low academic performance, social difficulties and health problems.
Cyber bullying victimization can have both short and long term effects which can gravitate towards antisocial behavior in adulthood.
Building a healthy culture of compassion and responsibility and treating others as you would like to be treated is the best defense against cyber-bullying.
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