The behaviours associated with cyberbullying exist in cyberspace, an environment where time and space relations are different. The vast possibilities offered by digital technology, particularly an almost unlimited audience and spontaneous real-time reactions, influence interpersonal relationships. Also, the sense of anonymity it provides, combined with impulsivity, can lead to improper use of digital technologies, and ultimately, cyberbullying. In some cases, the anonymity can create a feeling of power in the person committing the cyberbullying. The power imbalance can also derive from the fact that the cyberbully may have better computer skills or the victim may lack means of self-defence.
Like other forms of bullying, cyberbullying is not always the result of harmful, malicious or deliberate intent, but it can have unexpected effects that the people involved may be unable to control. In cyberspace, a single act can in fact be repeated indefinitely, as well as instantly and exponentially replicated, and perpetuated, all in an environment accessible to vast numbers of people, making it difficult for victims to defend themselves.
Examples of cyberbullying:
- Sending hurtful or threatening emails or text messages or posting these types of comments on a person’s social network page.
- Spreading rumours, secrets or embarrassing gossip about someone on the social networks, in emails or text messages.
- Taking a photograph of someone or making an embarrassing video of the person using a digital camera and sending it to other people or posting it on the Internet without the person’s knowledge or permission.
- Sharing an intimate photograph of an ex-partner via email or the social networks, without obtaining his or her consent.
- Using another person’s password to access his or her social network account and posting embarrassing or offensive content there.
- Disseminating information about someone (telephone numbers, home address) so that other people will abuse him or her, or at least, undermine his or her feeling of safety.
- Create Web surveys and “rate” people in a negative and hurtful way.
You can seek help from various resources, whether you are a parent, a teacher, a youth, an adult or a senior.
When necessary, the
current legislation also allows you take action to put a stop to various behaviours.
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