According to UNICEF, a body that belongs to the United Nations (UN), cyberbullying occurs when bullying occurs through digital platforms such as social networks or messengers. In practice, they are attitudes carried out repeatedly by an individual, with the aim of humiliating or intimidating another person.
Some examples are: spreading lies or sharing embarrassing photos of someone on social networks; threaten or send offensive messages through messaging applications; and assume the identity of a person to send evil messages to others on their behalf.
Cyberbullying: humiliation without obstacles?
Vexatiative nicknames, misnose comments about appearance and even physical aggression are circumstances experienced by many people, especially in the school phase. Cases of bullying are common in schools, a reality that requires the constant attention of teachers, pedagogues and education professionals in general.
However, when cyberbullying comes into play, the context becomes even more alarming, given that on the internet a content can be viewed by a much (much!) larger number of people. That is, an embarrassing event can gain a huge proportion.
Bullying in the virtual environment: what are the effects?
It is necessary to be in mind that being bullied in a restricted environment is already a very difficult situation to manage. So when the context of humiliation loses physical barriers and is shared in the virtual universe, the consequences can be even more serious.
According to Unicef, when bullying occurs virtually, the victim can feel “attacked from all sides” and without escape. Therefore, the effects of these episodes can affect the person in many ways:
- Mentally and emotionally: feeling of helplessness, incapacity, embarrassment, anger, deep sadness and loss of interest in activities he liked to do;
- Physically: constant feeling of tiredness, loss of sleep and even physical symptoms such as body ado.
In extreme cases, cyberbullying can result in suicide. Therefore, it should never be interpreted as a “joke”. In addition, its effects on the person should not be pointed out as “freshness”. It is important to support victims and help them take the necessary measures to restrict attacks and hold aggressors accountable.
Virtual barriers: privacy and reporting features
Some cases of cyberbullying may be restricted and reported in the virtual environment. In this context, it’s worth noting that social networks — such as Instagram, YouTube, Facebook and Twitter — have tools to manage who can view and interact with their posts.
Privacy settings continue to receive updates on these platforms in order to increase security and provide advanced means and levels of vetoing or allowing interaction with you. You can unfriend, completely block someone, or make comments from specific people appear only to them, such as Instagram’s “restrict” tool.
In addition, there are also features to report content and ask for the removal of media and posts from platforms. However, before requesting the removal of the content sums or blocking the aggressors, it is important to gather evidence, such as screenshots, to prove virtual attacks in a possible police report.