Nowadays, social media is playing a very important role in our society. People use these platforms to access news and information and also post or share their opinions. Pointing out on the opinion within social networks, there are a variety of comments. There are both good and bad comments throughout the Internet because we all have different opinions. When there are too many negative comments on social networks, they may affect the feelings of people who are subjected to these comments. The negativity that roam social media are called ‘cyberbullying’.
Cyberbullying or cyber harassment is a form of bullying using electronic communication. Cyberbullying, also known as online bullying has become increasingly common, especially among teenagers. Cyberbullying is when someone, bullies or harass others on social media platform. Harmful bullying behavior can include posting rumors, threats, sexual remarks, a victim’s personal information, or pejorative labels. Bullying or harassment can be identified by repeated behavior, which includes intent to harm. These actions can result in the victims having lower self-esteem, increased suicidal ideation, and a variety of emotional responses, which includes being scared, frustrated, angry, and depressed.
So what is wrong with cyberbullying other than the fact that they are just words roaming around the Internet? How could words ever hurt someone? Cyberbullying is one of the factors contributing to suicide, however, kids who are bullied or bullies others are at an increased risk of suicide. In cases where suicide is linked with cyberbullying, other factors also exist, such as everyday bullying and mental health issues that may already be present such as depression. As we can see in this case study, CNN news reported on January 10th, 2018 that 12-year-old Gabriella Green died from hanging herself. After the police investigated her family and friends, checked her cellphone and her social media accounts, they concluded that she was cyberbullied. She was rumored in a post on social media that she was having sexually transmitted diseases, but after her death the police found that the post was gone.
These problems lead to the cyberbullying victims feeling embarrassed and the society might misunderstand and condemn the person without knowing what the truth is. It can be seen from the case of Kwang Oratai, a news reporter, that she was accused of having an affair with Songkran by people who used fake accounts on Twitter and Instagram. After the case was cleared that she was not guilty, she tried to sue the people who accused her on social media, which resulted in many problems and controversies. There is also the case of Tangmo Phattaratida, a famous actress in Thailand, in which she tried to overdose prescription medicine in order to commit suicide. One of the reasons why is that she was stressed on her ongoing cyberbullying. Many people criticized her negatively on social media that she is crazy and that she deserved to be dumped by her boyfriend, Tono. As mentioned above, it can be seen that cyberbullying causes stress and depression. However, there are many effective approaches to deal with these problems.
For example, people should organise various campaigns and boycott cyberbullying on the Internet. The government should raise awareness of this issue by making enforcing the laws more strictly. Therefore, the people and the government should collaborate to combat cyberbullying which is causing depression for a lot of people.
What are the motives of cyber bullies? People often say that bullies are jealous, unhappy or just mean, while in reality there are some truth to those judgments but it is not the whole story. In fact, cyberbullying can come from simple feelings like boredom. According to the American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 40% of students who are cyberbullies have said they do not feel any guilt or shame after bullying. While some students also reported that they felt powerful, popular, and funny after they bullied others online. This shows that some people do not have any compassion for others when it comes to communicating online.
Who is most likely to become a cyberbully? The same survey of students found that cyberbullying was commonly perpetrated by former friends or dating partners. While strangers do bully other strangers too, the bullying will more likely be committed by someone that the victim knows personally.
Aside from the real world, the media tends to reflect this problem to make the society become more aware of the effects of cyberbullying. There are many examples of cyberbullying being portrayed in the media, such as Netflix’s ‘Thirteen Reasons Why’ , which tells the story of thirteen people who influenced high schooler Hannah Baker to commit suicide. Clay slowly listens to seven cassette tapes that Hannah has recorded her story. This series illustrates that it is important for us to understand the cause and effects of cyberbullying. Generally, cyberbullying occurs through technology such as a computer or a cell phone. It can occur through text messages or e-mails, social media, or other websites. People can use fake social media profiles to harass a student or to post insulting and/or embarrassing things about the individual. Another example is spreading embarrassing pictures or videos of a victim on social media or through text messages, which was portrayed in 13 Reasons Why.
Another reason why there are cyberbullying is that people are allowed to access to technology very easily, which could be range from kids to the elderly. With this ease of access, the people who do not have media literacy would use media in the wrong way. These factors make people more vulnerable to be victim of cyberbully.
It can be seen from Teens and Screens Study’s graph that most cyberbullying occurs because of people’s race or religion, appearance, and sexuality. We can see from this graph that bullies would most likely pick on someone’s appearance because it is the point where many people feel insecure about themselves. According to the survey from The Guardians, most of the bullying, even if it is not in the social media they would mostly focus on the weight and body shape.
There are lots of effective approaches to manage this problem for a cyberbullying victim. If you getting cyberbullied, do not hesitate to ask for help. You should ask an adult or parents guide you on dealing with the problem and determine whether the problem is serious or not. Next, report the abuse to the relevant social media site and take screenshots of the abuse so that you can use it as an evidence. If the harassment gets more serious report to the police and law get involved so you can sue the bullies.
People who were cyberbullied should forget all the negative comments and every bad story in their lives. They should choose to remember only the best memories that will make them think positive. The best way of solving this problem is “self-changing” positively. You could improve yourself by just a change of looks, names, or thoughts to solve these problems and reset your minds to become a better person. To give a great example it would be a Thai model called Julie from The Face Thailand season 2, she used to get cyber bullied because of her controversial past that was dug up and released to mainstream media, this resulted in her being shunned upon and condemned by many people on social media. She then decided to change her name to Daran and prove to others that she had become a better person. Her life changed, she got loaded with work and gained supporters. From this study case of Daran, it can be seen that the self-changing for the better could help the victim heal and improve themselves.
How do you prevent cyberbullying?
Before you think of how to prevent cyberbullying you should educate yourself exactly what it is, the causes and effects of it, as well as asking for parents to help. Next, setting our accounts to private, this can prevent anonymous people from coming within and protruding into our private space. On social media sites, you can set your account so that only the people you select are able to see your personal information and posts. After the account is privately protected, you should be aware of what you are going to post at all times. One of the most important thing is that you should think before you post anything. Never forget that the internet is public and what you sent out into the Internet can never be erased. You should keep your personal information personal. The best way to prevent this problem from occurring in our society is to raise awareness of this problem by doing a campaign or a movement to stop the cyberbullying.
In some countries there are still perspectives of viewing cyberbullying as just poking fun and playing around, this shows that some cultures still lack awareness on this problem. Some people still view this problem as a way to entertain or get into social groups. However, that is not case, the act of cyberbullying is a vile act and they should be punished according to the law.
We should be aware that when we comment something in social media without thinking over carefully or lack media literacy and use it in the wrong way, it could adversely affect the victim. It could lead to stress, serious self harm, or even suicide. Therefore, we should have the compassion to know what is right or wrong in our society. If we are the victim who are cyberbullied, we should solve the problem by always having self-consciousness and be positive on the situation. Another way to solve this problem is to use the opportunity to make a “self-changing” move to become a better person. If the harassment gets more serious report to the police and law get involved so you can sue the bullies. We should first prevent this problem by setting our accounts to private and raise awareness of this problem in our society to decrease the chance of getting cyberbullied. We all should start with educating the young and teaching them compassion and love so that the next generation will learn to give love rather than hate.