‘Such toned waist’, ‘I wish I had a thigh gap like hers’, ‘Oh! your stretch marks are disgusting’, ‘Wait, you had a breakup in just ten months?’, ‘You are too dumb to be an Asian’, ‘Such a desperate boy’, ‘Who’d marry you at 38 when you don’t even earn?’, ‘You deserve to die, leave the country’, … and the comments go on. They sound quite familiar. Maybe you have said similar things to people. Maybe people have said such things to you. But, did you ever realise that this is not right. This is inhumane and immoral. This is cyberbullying and it can harm both physical and mental health.
What is cyberbullying?
It can simply be defined as harsh, filthy comments or ruining one’s social status completely.
This is usually done to harm a person physically and mentally.
Social media bullying came into form with the evolution of social media in our life. Nowadays, it is very common for every individual to have their identity on different social media platforms. Therefore, facing insult and humiliation indirectly is growing each day.
What causes these kinds of bullying to take place?
Sometimes the answer lies in the question, which is an act of jealousy. Some sort of dis-likeness between individuals and in some cases it is also a result of another person’s boredom.
For example, two friends’ growing jealousy seeps into the world of media. It becomes an obsession for the other to make his friend question his/her existence.
Some basic examples of bullying on social media are:
- Posting bad about someone on social media directly or indirectly naming the person.
- Spamming rude or insulting comments publicly taking a person’s name.
- Making fun of someone’s appearance or things someone is insecure about.
- Excluding someone intentionally from a group.
- Convincing others using social media not to be friends with someone.
- Spreading wrong or personal information about someone without his/her permission.
What are the effects of cyberbullying?
We already know what social media bullying is and about its various types.
It is a much wider concept when we talk about bullying. Any form of physical or mental abuse intentionally is termed as bullying.
It is important to understand how bullying affects a child’s mind. At times, it leads to suicidal thoughts. Our teenagers are the worst affected by social media bullying. Teenage Depression has caged them ruthlessly.
Today’s society has displayed social bullying as a source of entertainment. In movies and reality shows like, ‘Mean Girls’, ‘Ralph Breaks The Internet’, ‘Carrie’, ‘Unfriended’, where it is glorified but at the end, neatly resolved.
Things like these do not usually happen in the real world, as nothing gets resolved. Young minds suffer through emotional trauma including depression, anxiety, social esteem, self-negativity and they often end up taking harsh decisions.
At the age of adolescence, we tend to shift our focus from family and relatives to our friends. We believe in our friends more than anyone. Therefore it is heartbreaking when we are bullied by them and see them ruining our social lives. This type of bullying often results in loss of friends which is often devastating for teenagers.
How should parents act when they find that their child is a victim of cyberbullying?
Firstly, it is important to support and listen to your child whenever he\she comes to talk to you. Respecting their decision and leaving on them that they can handle their problems alone is not a wise choice. Reach out to your child’s school\college and try to know how peers behave with him/her.
The most important step is to allow your child to open up. An open trusting relationship is required when talking to your child about any issues they are facing.
Ask how your child has reacted and how they feel. It is difficult to hear that your child is being mistreated.
Continue to stay calm and focus on understanding and supporting them. They could show signs of depression or change in behaviour. TEEN DEPRESSION is Common Flu of This Era but you need to act strong and calm.
You should consult with a mental health professional.
Handling such situations alone may not be the best option. Most importantly, make sure that the child has someone to talk about his/her problems without any hesitation.
What causes suicidal thoughts?
Suicidal thoughts have many causes.
When you consider a situation has no solution and you can’t cope with the same. Then and there you decide to end your sufferings. This moment of hopelessness triggers suicidal thoughts.
If you don’t have hope for the future, you might think about suicide as an option. You may experience a sort of vision, where in the middle you believe suicide is the only way out. It just happens within a fraction of seconds.
Recently recorded cases in India:
age 21, an undergraduate student of Lady Shri Ram College, Delhi. She became the target of online harassment when she was just 12.
“A classmate of mine had been collecting my photos and information and had used this to blackmail me on my Facebook page in my name”. I had no idea about that and found out about this fake page through my friends.”
age 19, a resident of Ashok Vihar in north-west Delhi.
She was trolled violently for a Facebook post criticizing the government. But she did not report the dirt. She said because she had no idea how to speak out.
Give time, listen to people if they are suffering through anything, and make people comfortable around you so that they can open up before it’s too late. Suicide is not a solution!
Your life is precious. You are precious. Hurling abuses at someone is very easy when it comes to a virtual medium. Just like you have emotions, others have emotions and feel hurt too. The power and reach of the Internet have made several lives. Cyberbullying can break lives. It is immensely disturbing to know that one comment of yours can lead someone to death. Be kind. Be sensible.