Cyber Harassment

Subject: Sociology
Type: Informative Essay
Pages: 3
Word count: 856
Topics: Bullying, Cyber Bullying, Sexual Harassment
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Today, people have access to a lot of information while being online. However, this also implies exposure to online abuse. If not well-used, e-communication through messaging and social media apps can hurt many. For instance, privacy violations, cyberbullying, cyber-stalking, improper image, and information sharing could destroy the users’ self-image, self-esteem, and safety. Cyber harassment involves bullying others over digital devices, including tablets, computers, and cell phones. It further involves sharing, posting, or sending mean, harmful, negative, or false content about someone else (Beran et al., 2012). It could include sharing private or personal information about another person, causing humiliation or embarrassment. Some cyber harassment crosses the line into criminal or unlawful behavior. While technology offers meaningful new ways to communicate and connect, it also presents cyber harassment, which is detrimental following its persistence, anonymous, hard-to-detect, hurtful, permanent, and significant audience aspects.

Features of Cyber Harassment

Even though all bullying is grouped by hurtful, often repetitive, and deliberate behavior towards someone or a group, there are distinct features and elements surrounding cyber harassment.

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Persistence

Most people, including students, can access some form of technology anytime. Digital devices and online platforms offer immediate and continuous communication programs around the clock (Bonanno & Hymel, 2013). Indeed, this means that cyber harassment can occur anytime, in the morning, afternoon, evening, and even night hours, not only while in school. It happens while at home or in the community. Therefore, if the oppressed children do not take action or report to the necessary parties, the bullies can continue the harassment for as long as they wish.

Difficult to Detect

Cyberbullies can virtually destroy their victims at any time, from anywhere, since everyone is today equipped with a capable device and internet connection. While some bullying is overt, like damaging property or pushing, cyber harassment occurs through computers, phones, or tablets, making it harder to detect (Bonanno & Hymel, 2013). Notably, catching the bullies in real-time is challenging since, for the act to be perpetrated, there is no need for face-to-face interactions like physical bullying. Furthermore, since parents and teachers cannot see or overhear cyber harassment when it happens, it is even more challenging to recognize.

Anonymous

In the cyber harassment world, anonymity is pronounced. Cyber harassment can be done anonymously. According to Barlett (2013), anonymity is intensified because (1) the bullies cannot be easily identified as they use fake names; (2) the bullies do not need to have past relationships with the victims; and (3) no physical marks or scars are inflicted on the victims from the bullies. In other words, the bullies’ anonymity may improve the frequency of cyber harassment (compared to traditional bullying). Anonymity breeds courage, and the ability to stay anonymous directly impacts the users’ online behaviors (Barlett, 2013). Besides, anonymity in cyberspace permits people to bully and say things they would never do otherwise. Victims might not even know the perpetrator, making it easy for people to hurt others and not be held accountable.

Shared to a Potentially Wider Audience

Information online can be shared quickly and easily. As a result, a larger audience can see cyber harassment and attacks. The audience can access the materials repeatedly and share them with an untold pool of people (Nixon, 2014). While the harmful act can be committed only once, the internet makes it hard to stop or contain negative messages after they are posted online.

Easier to be Hurtful

Cyber harassment can be easier to commit than other forms since bullies do not have to confront their targets in person. Bullying using technology is often less complicated due to greater physical distance (Corcoran et al., 2015). The bullies do not see immediate reactions or responses from their targets. Therefore, they may not recognize the severe damage caused by their actions as technology distances them from the actual-life pain they could have caused.

Permanent

Perhaps the most ruthless feature of online harassment is that posts still exist for a long time and can be accessed by victims and others. Most digital content is public and permanent if not reported and dropped (Hafeez, 2014). After sharing information about the victim online, everyone everywhere accesses it. It can be hard to entirely delete the information after it has been posted on the internet. An undesirable online image, including bullies, can influence different sectors of life, including college admission and employment. Other than being accessed by people permanently, cyber harassment feels permanent to the victims. People know that once something is out there, it will stay there. They can feel overwhelmed, embarrassed, and naked. When cyber harassment happens, nasty texts, posts, or messages can be shared with several people. The sheer multitude of people that know of the bullying can have lasting consequences for the victims, resulting in feelings of humiliation.

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Conclusion

Schools and parents are currently experiencing a cyber-harassment epidemic. Cyber harassment can be upsetting and damaging because of its anonymous and difficult-to-trace nature. Other aspects of cyber harassment include persistence, hurt, permanence, and a large audience. What`s more, it is hard to control, and the victims have no idea of the volume of people who have seen the posts or messages. Moreover, victims can always feel tormented when they check their computers or devices.

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  1. Barlett, C. P. (2015). Anonymously hurting others online: The effect of anonymity on cyberbullying frequency. Psychology of Popular Media Culture4(2), 70.
  2. Beran, T. N., Rinaldi, C., Bickham, D. S., & Rich, M. (2012). Evidence for the need to support adolescents dealing with harassment and cyber-harassment: Prevalence, progression, and impact. School Psychology International33(5), 562-576.
  3. Bonanno, R. A., & Hymel, S. (2013). Cyberbullying and internalizing difficulties: Above and beyond the impact of traditional forms of bullying. Journal of Youth and Adolescence42(5), 685-697.
  4. Corcoran, L., Mc Guckin, C., & Prentice, G. (2015). Cyberbullying or cyber aggression?: A review of existing definitions of cyber-based peer-to-peer aggression. Societies5(2), 245-255.
  5. Hafeez, E. (2014). Cyber harassment and its implications. Horizons8(2), 29-48.
  6. Nixon, C. L. (2014). Current perspectives: The impact of cyberbullying on adolescent health. Adolescent Health, Medicine, and Therapeutics5, 143.
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