A lie can travel halfway around the world while the truth is putting on its shoes… Mark Twain
“Cyber-bullying” is when a child or adult is tormented, threatened, harassed, humiliated, embarrassed or otherwise targeted by another child or adult. Cyber bullying is not limited to time and space like real life bullying – which makes it worse. Real life bullying victims are often the weak and those with low self-esteem who struggle to stand up for themselves. With cyber bullying the victim is anyone.
Cyber bullying can be more malicious than traditional forms of bullying. The reasons for that is that it can be done anonymously, the contents is distributed to a much wider group than just on lookers, the bully can alter images and it is not limited to time and space.
The following methods can be used to cyber bully using the Internet, interactive and digital technologies or mobile phones:
Text messages, Picture /Video clips, Mobile phone calls, E-mail, Chat rooms, Instant messages,Websites and Blogs, Social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Internet gaming.
The Bureau of Youth Research at UNISA¹ recently published statistics that indicated a rise in cyberbullying among school learners in South Africa. The 2016 study reveals that 56.1% of female learners and 56.9% of male learners were victims of bullying in the cyberspace. The platform used most for bullying is WhatsApp.
Top five means of means of cyberbullying in South African schools:
% of learners who experienced cyberbullying
46,5% of learners experienced false statements made by others.
36.7% of leaners said they received upsetting messages.
22,8% of learners said they received threatening messages.
20,8% of leaners were being socially isolated or pushed away.
Risk factors that increase incidences of cyber bullying
Shared personal information with known friends online/offline:
• Shared cell phone password (66.1%)
• Shared social network login details (33.9%)
• Shared email login details (16.8%)
Shared personal information with unknown person met online:
• Shared cell phone password (25.5%)
• Shared social network login details (20.7%)
• Shared email login details (8.1%)
Statistics from : NATURE, EXTENT AND IMPACT OF BULLYING AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL LEARNERS IN GAUTENG, 2017. (Technical Report) Research Report No 482
Note: You can be sued from the age of 7 in your own name. -Emma Sadleir
Denigration involves sending or posting malicious gossip or rumours about a person to damage his or her reputation or friendships. It also includes posting or sending digitally altered photographs of someone to others, particularly photos that portray the victim in a sexualised or harmful way.
Harassment involves frequently sending a cruel or threatening message to a person’s e-mail account or mobile phone. It is usually persistent and repeated and is directed to a specific person. It may cause alarm, annoyance or substantial emotional stress to the receiver.
The SA Law Reform Commission distinguishes between direct and indirect harassment. Direct harassment includes threats, bullying or intimidating electronic messages send directly to the victim. Indirect harassment includes spreading rumours about the victim to unwanted online services and posting information about the victim on online dating or sex services.
Impersonation or Identity theft:
This occurs when someone breaks into someone else’s e-mail or social networking account and poses as that person, sending messages or other information or pictures online in a bid to damage the victim’s reputation and friendships, or to get the victim into trouble or danger.
Outing involves sharing someone’s secrets or embarrassing information or images online with people whom the information was never intended to be shared. In some instances deception is used to trick someone into revealing their secrets or embarrassing information, and these are then shared online with others.
Like traditional stalking, cyber stalking involves threats of harm or intimidation through repeated online harassment and threats. Cyber Harassment is the use of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) to harass, control, manipulate or habitually disparage a child, adult, business or group without a direct or implied threat of physical harm.
Happy slapping involves incidents where people walk up to someone and slap them, while another captures the violence using a mobile phone camera.
Flaming is when online fights occur via electronic messages containing angry vulgar language. Messages may include threats and insults.
Tricking someone into revealing personal information then sharing it with others.
Intentionally leaving someone out of a group such as instant messaging, friend sites, or other online group activities.
Information courtesy of: CJCP, Issue paper no. 10. August 2011.
Cyber sexual exploitation is when an adult tries to lure a child into offline meetings. Such an adult is called a sexual predator.
Grooming is when someone builds an emotional connection with a child to gain their trust for the purposes of sexual abuse or exploitation. Children and young people can be groomed online or in the real world, by a stranger or by someone they know – for example a family member, friend or professional.
They come from messages send to you directly.
Example: You receive a message which says: ”You are ugly. Please go and kill yourself”
Indirect attacks ( attacks -by-proxy):
Using others to help cyber-bully the victim, either with or without the accomplice’s knowledge.
Example: A message or picture is send between other parties concerning you – it can be via email, sms, Facebook, Snap chat, Whats app.
Why do people cyber bully?
- For fun
- For power
- To defend themselves.
- NATURE, EXTENT AND IMPACT OF BULLYING AMONG SECONDARY SCHOOL LEARNERS IN GAUTENG, 2017. (Technical Report) Research Report No 482
- Selfies, Sexts and Smartphones: A teenager’s online survival guide. SADLEIR, EMMA. 2017
- http://www.lse.ac.uk/[email protected]/research/Research-Projects/Researching-Childrens-Rights/pdf/Issue-Paper-10—Legal-reponses-to-cyberbullying-and-sexting-in-SA.pdf