From the past few years, it has been evident that kids and teens spend more time on the internet than most adults. It would be surprising to not find your kid or teen consumed in their digital device. No matter what happens, you will find them glued to their screens.
Kids are not to blame here. Their dependency on technology and digital devices does not need any kind of justification. They use smartphones, computers, and tablets to complete their homework and search for information for the school projects. However, that’s not the only reason they use technology. They also use devices to connect with their friends on social media, play games, watch movies, and what not.
It has been reported by several studies that most kids communicate with others through texting and using social media apps. With this, cyberbullying comes into existence. To protect kids from these online threats, parents can’t help but install parental control apps on their kids’ devices.
What Is Cyberbullying?
When someone harasses, embarrasses, threatens, or targets another person through the means of technology or the internet, this person is known as a cyberbully and the process is known as cyberbullying.
It has been observed that cyberbullying mainly exists between tweens and teens. Typically, kids and teens are involved in cyberbullying incidents. However, this certainly does not mean that adults are completely exempt from experiencing cyberbullying and public shaming.
Types of Cyberbullying
You would be surprised to know that there is not just one way kids can bully others on the internet. In fact, they can use multiple ways to bully another person. In this post, we are going to discuss six different and most common types of cyberbullying that exist.
Harassment is one of the most common types of cyberbullying that exist among kids and teens. Following are some of the strategies that a bully can use to harass another person on the internet:
- A bully can engage in a “warning war.” Several social media sites offer users to report users who are saying something inappropriate on the platform. Bullies can misuse these report buttons as a way to put the victim in trouble or get them kicked offline.
- A bully can also participate in a text war or text attack, which mostly occurs when they involve other bullies and gang up against the victim and send him/her thousands of warning messages. These text attacks can cause emotional distress for the victim.
- A bully can post embarrassing information, threats, and rumors about the victim on different social media apps such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
- The bully can use instant messaging apps, emails, and text messaging to embarrass, threaten, and harass the victim.
A bully can impersonate another person and cause problems in their life. They can create problems for the victim in the following ways:
- The bully can modify the victim’s social media profile and include sexual, racist, and other inappropriate things in it.
- The bully can create a screen name similar to the victim’s screen name and then post rude or hurtful comments while pretending to be the victim.
- The bully can pretend to be someone else, probably a mature person, to lure an innocent victim into a fake online relationship. This is known as catfishing.
- The bully can create an account on a social media app and post as the victim while declaring mean, hurtful, and offensive statements online. The bully can also use the victim’s actual photos to make the account look authentic.
- The bully can also go to the extent of stealing the victim’s password of their social media account and chat with other people on their friends’ list while pretending to be the victim. On purpose, the bully will say rude, offensive, and mean things that might anger and offend the victim’s friends.
Inappropriate Photos and Videos
Using and posting inappropriate photos and videos of the victim also countas cyberbullying. This may include the following activities:
- The bully can upload and share inappropriate photos and videos on social media apps for anyone to see and download.
- The bully can send mass text messages or emails that feature nude or inappropriate photos and videos of the victim. This activity is known as sexting. As soon as the photos and videos are sent, there is no way to bring them back. The content is most likely to get distributed to hundreds of people just within a matter of time.
- The bully can also capture nude or degrading photos of the victim by locking them up in a locker room, bathroom, or dressing room without their consent.
- The bully can threaten to upload and share embarrassing photos as a way of blackmailing or controlling the victim.
- The bully can also use someone’s embarrassing photos and videos to shame them on social media. One common way most teens use is to engage in slut-shaming. This sort of behavior involves the bully to shame the victim, usually a girl, for the way she dresses up, acts, or the number of boys she has dated.
Creating Blogs and Websites
Creating blogs, websites, and online polls to harass the victim is also another type of cyberbullying. Here’s what the bully is most likely to do:
- The bully can create an online poll about the victim and include embarrassing questions about them to harass them.
- The bully can create an online blog about the victim that is insulting, humiliating, and embarrassing.
- The bully can also create a website and include humiliating, embarrassing, and hurting information about the victim.
- The bully can post mean, insulting, and rude comments about the victim by using the chat option of online gaming platforms.
- The bully can post the victim’s personal information and photos on a website and put them in danger of being reached out by online predators.
- The bully can spread lies, rumors, and gossip about the victim through websites or online blogs.
- The bully can send spyware, viruses, or hacking programs to the victim’s device to spy on them or control their device remotely.
- The bully can also use the information that was shared with them by the victim in confidence and make it public.
Video shaming is another common type of cyberbullying. The following are some ways a bully can use video shaming to harass the victim:
- The bully can create an incident that causes the victim to become upset or emotional and then record the incident in the form of a video. Later, they can upload and share the video on social media sites to embarrass and harass the victim.
- The bully can also upload and share the embarrassing video of the victim on YouTube to allow more people to see the incident.
- They can share the video through instant messaging apps such as WhatsApp to embarrass and humiliate the victim.
What Can Parents Do?
Parents should be responsible for protecting their kids and teens from becoming a target of cyberbullying. Cyberbullying takes place through the use of social media, text messages, and digital devices. However, these things are not the underlying problem.
Mainly, cyberbullying occurs because of the choices our kids and teens make. It would be of no help to restrict your kid’s access to the internet. Kids are smart these days and they know how to get around their ways online. A bully can easily create a fake social media profile and impersonate and harass your kid online.
Instead of controlling your kid’s online access, you need to educate them about the types and risks of cyberbullying. Talk to them about how they can make smart choices and wise moves and how they can report cyberbullying incidents if they occur. You should have an open conversation with your kids about cyberbullying because it will definitely help.
Last but not least, you can install parental control software on their device and monitor their entire online activity. That way you can monitor your kid’s text messages, emails, and instant messages and find out what sort of conversations they are having with others online. This will help you take some action immediately and protect your kids from being bullied.