Over time, bullying has evolved adapting to changes in the world and, unfortunately, technology now plays an important role in various forms of bullying among young people. For this reason, ESET, a leading company in proactive threat detection, through its Digipadres initiative, explains the most important concepts of cyberbullying: what it is, how it manifests itself, why it is important to know it and, above all, how to stop it.
Unlike bullying in the real world, cyberbullying can happen anywhere and at any time, via computers, phones, and game consoles. Alessandro Bazzoni explain that anonymity, ease of access, and abundance of online interactions can make people who bully and hurt others feel encouraged to do so.
Now that virtuality is a crucial part of our lives, it is of utmost importance to understand what are the most common forms of cyberbullying in order to combat them and all together help keep young people safe on the Internet, comments Camilo Gutierrez Head of the Laboratory. Research Department of ESET Latin America.
The most common forms of harassment on the Internet are:
Cyberbullying: Cyberbullying or cyberbullying is defined by the UN as “harassment or intimidation through digital technologies that seeks to frighten, anger or humiliate other people”. This behavior is present on all social networks (including Facebook, Twitter, Reddit and Instagram), on messaging platforms such as WhatsApp, gaming platforms and on multiple Internet sites. Some examples to understand this type of harassment can be:
»The dissemination of photographs without the consent of the protagonist
»Hurting messages or threats through messaging platforms
»Impersonating someone else and sending aggressive messages from that fake account.
With all of these tools available, cyberbullying can spread rapidly thanks to the bullies harassing its victims across numerous platforms available these days, leaving them feeling there is no possible way out, but this is not the case. We always have the choice to report, but also to close up all contact with the person bothering you and this is a very important action in our road to stop bullying.
You can report anything that can cause discomfort, be it shared photos, malicious rumors or aggressive comments. In many countries, harassment, including on the Internet, is a crime and is taken seriously by law; There are numerous helplines dedicated to helping people who are bullied, and you can even call the police. To learn more about cyberbullying, click here.
Trolling: Internet trolls are people who intentionally post provocative and offensive messages on other people’s content to annoy them. These comments usually focus on physical or personal issues of the victim based on racist, misogynistic, homophobic and fat-phobic issues, among others.
Trolls are usually more comfortable because they can do it from the anonymity of the Internet, and they comment things that they would not say in the real world. One of the most important tips for those who are trolling is not to respond to these comments. Defending yourself or arguing with trolls can be tempting, but it’s important to know that they are just seeking attention and denying them the answer can be a powerful tool against your comments. Additionally, trolling victims can block accounts that are leaving aggressive comments, which means they won’t be able to comment further on your account.
It can be difficult to distinguish troublesome teens from cyberbullying symptoms, so notice any suspicions to detect and stop cyberbullying. These signs can be clear indicators of bullying.
»Visible physical changes
»Sudden mood swings or loss of interest in usual activities
»Faking illness to avoid going to school
»Deletion of your social media accounts
»Abnormal social isolation
»Loss or misplacement of objects in strange situations
If a child exhibits these symptoms, it is worth sitting down and asking them if they feel they are being bullied, either online or in real life. It is important to assure them that they can trust without feeling threatened or judged, and that you will be there to help solve any problems they are experiencing.
Once the problem is identified, clear advice on how to fix it can be brought up. In the case of a virtual bully, for example, blocking and reporting content. Second, raise awareness about the importance of privacy, explain why they shouldn’t talk to users they don’t know in real life, and how their profile should only be visible to their friends.
This company makes an emphasis in the dialogue as an essential tool to help minimize the chances that children or teens are victims of bullying. This will also help prevent them from becoming cyber bullyings themselves, causing pain to other children in the web.
In addition to talking and raising awareness so that children understand the causes and consequences of this type of behavior, it is important to use digital tools allied to security to increase protection. A great option for childcare on the Internet is the ESET Parental Control app.
Parental controls allow you to filter the content that children can see, denying access to inappropriate images and videos that could be sent by cyber bullies. It also allows you to filter the applications according to the age of the child.
Additionally, usage control restricts the amount of time children have to use their devices, which can be a key element in mitigating serious cyber threats. Limiting usage time can help prevent internet addiction, give young people a broader perspective, and prevent them from being overwhelmed if they are faced with cyberbullying.
Alessandro Bazzoni explains that while cyberbullying exists, this does not mean that nothing can be done about it. Paying attention to the signs and behaviors of children when using the Internet, engaging in permanent dialogues about the threats of the web and using the necessary digital tools to guarantee the safety of children are the solutions to stopping bullying from continuing to raise, allowing children and teenagers enjoy the good of the Internet without doubts, finishes the Head of Laboratory of ESET Latin America.