In a recent study conducted by McAfee, a security software company, information was shared regarding the amount of cyber bullying which occurs in the United States. The study which was titled ‘2014 Teens and the Screen’, interviews of 1502 teenagers were included who were aged between 10 and 18. The study showed that 87% of the teenagers had witnessed the occurrence of cyber bullying in the present year while 27% of them had witnessed its occurrence in 2013. The purpose behind the study was described by the chief privacy officer of McAfee, Michelle Kennedy in a press release in which it was stated that by uncovering the behaviors and the activities of youth online, guardians, parents, teachers, and coaches will become more aware of the kinds of behavior which can occur over the internet.
The consequences of cyber bullying are very prominent and are right in front of us and the intensity of such acts can be estimated by the fact that around 300,000 tweets and 1.8 million posts on Facebook on the topic are added by individuals every minute, every day. These figures should not be considered to be extraordinary as the younger generation was born in a time where everything is digital and they can have access to a variety of gadgets throughout the day and night. Keeping this into consideration, how can cyber bullying be prevented online in such a digital age?
The main problem: the study asked a variety of questions from the teenagers on the topic of cyber bullying. 72% of the children stated that they had experienced some kind of cyber bullying which was because of their appearance and how they looked; 26% of them said they were bullied online due to their religion and race whereas 22% said that it was due to their sexuality that they had been bullied online. Further details in the study showed that the effects of being bullied online had also trickled down to the physical world. Out of those involved in the study, 50% said that they had gotten into an argument with a friend because of something that had been posted on social media. 4%, on the other hand, had said that cyber bullying does, in fact, lead to arguments to occur physically. Thus, cyber bullying has its negative impacts on the real world as well.
Taking the necessary measures: cyber bullying which occurs at the school comes under the category of being defined as deviant behavior. Educational institutions too look down upon such behaviors and do not tolerate its practice. According to the results of the study conducted by McAfee, 53% of the respondents said that they had been victims of bullying which occurred online and had reacted in a defensive or an angry manner while 47% of the respondents said that when they had been victims, their reaction to it was the deletion of their accounts on social media.
Responsible adults tend to let their kids know that they must save evidence if they are bullied online. Evidence of cyber bullying would consist of pictures, emails, and conversations. This would be useful in case it would need to be shown to adults in order to put the misery they feel to an end. Furthermore, adults also tell their children to leave the website where such bullying is taking place. Better yet, children can also block the person who is bullying them or delete them from their profiles completely.
The most important thing when it comes to dealing with cyber bullying is for parents to monitor the activities of their children online. Computers and mobile phones should be kept away from the rooms of their child and be placed in a common area of the room. Rules should also be strictly enforced to ensure no act of cyber bullying occurs.