Cyberbullying In Sociology.Cyberbullying is the practice of bullying through virtual environments , such as social networks and messaging applications. Bullying consists of harassment, humiliation, intimidation, aggression and systematic defamation. When these problems leave the sphere of physical coexistence and move to the sphere of virtual coexistence, we have cyberbullying, common today among young people because of the popularization of internet access and the massive use of social networks.
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What is cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is the practice of bullying in virtual environments.
The English word bully means “bully” – that typical figure of the aggressor who chases his victims at school, putting nicknames on them and making them go through vexing situations, through physical and moral aggressions. The suffix -ing added to the term bully is what indicates the condition of bullying: persistence and continuity . The prefix cyber- comes from the word cybernetic , which refers to what has to do with the internet.
Cyberbullying is the practice of bullying in virtual environments . Bullying can be characterized by persecuting and constant violence, which can lead, in its most latent forms, to physical aggression, in addition to public humiliation, vexing exposure, creation of bad taste nicknames etc. Cyberbullying, on the other hand, is the same practice, but it occurs through virtual communication channels, which can be more psychologically harmful to the victim.
While bullying only happens during face-to-face contact between the victim and the aggressor, cyberbullying extends beyond the public coexistence environments, which the victim is obliged to attend for certain hours. In this way, cyberbullying tends to be more overwhelming , as there is no way for the victim to escape from it, after all, even at home, isolated in his room, he can receive threatening and offensive messages on his social networks or via text message.
Cyberbullying can ruin the lives of the victims involved.
Usually, those who practice cyberbullying hide behind fake social media profiles , believing their identity is totally protected. However, there are mechanisms for tracking offenders and virtual defamators, using a number of computers and networks registered on the Internet, called an IP address , which allows the identification of any virtual activity.
Therefore, if the victim of cyberbullying feels affected by the so-called crimes against honor (slander, defamation and injury) or even crimes of racial injury (when the aggression is motivated by race and ethnicity), it is protected by articles 138 and 140 of the Brazilian Penal Code, respectively. When there is the disclosure of intimate images, with nudity, erotic or sexual content , without the authorization of the victim, the law is protected by article 218-C of the Brazilian Penal Code.
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We can establish as cyberbullying the systematic practice of harassment, humiliation and embarrassment that can occur through the creation of nicknames ; making montages or disseminating embarrassing images with the victim’s image; the disclosure of intimate images and the persecution on account of that disclosure; the creation and dissemination of false vexing news about a person; and the simple offense (injury) against someone.
To understand cyberbullying in depth, we need to know some terms from the English language that are part of the specific vocabulary of the internet. These terms are hater , sexting , nude and revenge porn .
Like bullying, cyberbullying causes social isolation.
Hater is the person who spreads free hatred against someone simply by hating that person. The word sexting is a composition of the words sex (sex) and texting (the act of sending a text message), so the term designates an exchange of virtual messages with sexual content. Nude means “nude”, it is a term used to designate photos with nudity. Revenge porn literally means “revenge porn”. The latter term is used to designate the act of revenge on someone by disclosing intimate photos of that person (since these images were probably sent by the victim himself, who trusted the person to whom he sent them).
Cyberbullying can originate through all of these cases, either by the simple gratuitous hatred of someone towards another person, or by the dissemination of intimate images, which generates persecution and humiliation for the victim.
Consequences of cyberbullying
Bullying and cyberbullying can have severe consequences for their victims. At the beginning of the process, strong social isolation, discomfort and sadness can often be seen in them . These characteristics tend to intensify as time passes and the aggressions continue. Over time, the person can develop depression , panic disorder , obsessive compulsive disorder , anxiety disorder , bipolar disorder and other mental disorders.
Depression is one of the possible consequences for victims of cyberbullying.
The trauma caused by the aggressions, combined with psychological disorders, can result in self – deprecation , self-mutilation (when the person causes cuts and wounds in the body), abuse of alcohol and other drugs , image disorders that lead to diseases such as anorexia and the bulimia and, in extreme cases, to suicide. When the consequences do not appear immediately in youth, they can appear in adulthood, so it is important that a victim of bullying and cyberbullying is welcomed by family and friends and that she is given the possibility of adequate medical and psychological monitoring.
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Data on cyberbullying in Brazil
Intel Security, a company linked to the user security sector of computer manufacturer Intel Inside, conducted a survey | 1 | about cyberbullying in Brazil. The researchers collected data from 507 children and adolescents between the ages of 8 and 16, seeking information about bullying in virtual environments. These were the main data collected about the interviewees:
- 66% witnessed cases of aggression on the internet;
- 21% claim to have suffered cyberbullying;
- 24% performed acts considered cyberbullying, of which, from this group:
- 14% admitted to speaking ill of one person to another;
- 13% said they mocked someone for their appearance;
- 7% tagged someone in vexing photos;
- 3% threatened someone;
- 3% made fun of someone because of their sexuality;
- 2% intentionally posted about events in which a colleague was excluded so that he realized he was excluded.
As a justification, the interviewees claimed the following elements:
- For defense or revenge, because they were fighting back a previous attack that, in some way, the victim imposed before.
- Because they don’t like the victim.
- Because other people were doing this before.
A survey | 2 | made by Instituto Ipsos about cyberbullying interviewed about 20 thousand people in 28 countries of the world. According to the data collected, India ranks first in the ranking of cyberbullying cases in the world . Brazil is soon after , in second place. In our country, 30% of parents and legal guardians of minors interviewed say that their children have been involved in cyberbullying, being victims or aggressors.
What attitudes should you take to avoid being a victim of cyberbullying
The victim of any aggression is never to blame for his suffering . However, in view of the existence of cyberbullying, some actions and precautions can protect you from being affected by such a practice. Some necessary precautions are:
- Do not expose your life on social networks;
- Do not expose your privacy on the internet;
- If someone attacks you, block that person and seek adult guidance;
- Do not send intimate photos, containing nudity, to third parties, even if you trust that person a lot, even if it is your boyfriend or girlfriend;
- In case of exposure of intimate photos, look for a police station and immediately register a police report;
- In the case of assaults that may cause moral damage due to injury, slander and defamation, look for a police station and register a police report;
- If you are victimized by any aggression, before taking any action, talk to your guardians or an adult you trust who can support and assist you;
- Monitor the activity of your children and your guardians to know what they do on the internet and what they do with them; in addition to always maintaining an open dialogue, showing teenagers and children that they can trust you and open up in cases of aggression.