Bullying and cyberbullying: A law student’s perspective

29 July 2021 | Opinion

RIPUREE MBWALE

Bullying is the repeated aggressive behaviour by someone to another person. It can take different forms; it can be physical or verbal or occur online. Bullies are often mean; in most cases they bully their victims over long periods of time causing their victims to live in state of constant fear of where and when the bully will strike next. Examples of bullying include harassment, physical beatings, humiliation, name calling, teasing and insulting, spreading of lies or rumours and threats. Bullying can leave you feeling depressed, humiliated, helpless and often times even suicidal.

Today we will be discussing cyberbullying.

What is cyberbullying?

With the advancement of technology and the popularity of social media, bullying is no longer limited to the school yard or street corners. Cyberbullying can now occur anywhere and to anyone, it can happen at home, at your workplace and especially on social media.

Cyberbullies use digital technology to harass or humiliate other people. Unlike traditional bullying, cyberbullying doesn’t require face-to-face contact and it also doesn’t require physical strength.

Cyberbullies come in all ages. Anyone with an internet connection and a smartphone can cyberbully, often without having to reveal their true identity. With a few clicks the humiliation can be witnessed by hundreds or even thousands of people online.

Methods of cyberbullying

· Sending threatening or taunting messages via email, text or social media.

· Hacking into someone’s social media account or stealing your online identity to hurt and humiliate you.

· Creating a website or social media page to target a person.

· Forwarding messages, pictures or videos of a sexual nature of someone.

· Spreading lies and rumours.

· Exposing secrets.

Because cyberbullying is so easy to perpetrate, a person can easily change roles, going from cyberbullying victim at one point to cyberbully the next.

The effects of bullying and cyberbullying

· Make the victim feel hurt, afraid, helpless, ashamed and even guilty that the bullying is somehow your fault.

· Feel suicidal.

· Physical health is likely to suffer.

· Great risk of developing mental health problems such as depression, low self-esteem, anxiety.

Cyberbullying can be witnessed by potentially thousands of people. Messages can be forwarded to many people, while social media posts or website comments can often be seen by anyone. The more far-reaching the bullying, the more humiliating it can become.

Why am I being bullied?

While there are many reasons why bullies may be targeting you, bullies tend to pick on people who are “different” or don’t fit in with the mainstream. It may simply be that you are new to the school or neighbourhood and haven’t made friends yet. Other reasons why kids bully may include: To become popular or to gain attention, jealousy, to look tough or feel powerful, sometimes because they are being bullied themselves or to escape their own problems.

Whatever the reasons for you being targeted are, it’s important to remember that you are not alone. Many of us have been bullied at some point in our lives, about 25 percent of kids experience bullying of some sort and as many as one third of teenagers suffer from cyberbullying at some point, but you don’t have to put up with it.

Tips for dealing with cyberbullying

Dealing with cyberbullying is rarely easy, but there are steps you can take to cope with the problem. It may be a good time to reassess your technology use.

Spending less time on social media and more time interacting with real people can help you distance yourself from online bullies. It can also help to reduce anxiety and feelings of loneliness.

Don’t respond to any messages or posts written about you, no matter how hurtful or untrue they are. Responding will only make the situation worse and provoking a reaction from you is exactly what the cyberbullies wanted in the first place, so don’t give them the satisfaction. It’s easy to want to retaliate, but try not to seek revenge on a cyberbully by becoming a cyberbully yourself. Again, it will only make the problem worse and could result in serious legal consequences for you.

It’s important to save the evidence of the cyberbullying, keep abusive text messages or a screenshot of a webpage and then report them to a trusted adult or the relevant authorities. If you don’t report the incidents, cyberbullies tend to become more aggressive. Report threats of harm and inappropriate sexual messages to the police; that type of cyberbullying can be prosecuted by law.

One of the easiest steps to take is to report their activities to their internet service provider or to any social media or other websites they use to target you. The cyberbully's actions may constitute a violation of the website’s terms of service or may even constitute criminal charges.

Prevention is better than cure. Try to prevent cyberbullying before it starts and the best way to do it is by not sending messages when you are angry or upset and always be as polite online as you are in person.

* Ripuree Mbwale a final-year law student at the University of Namibia, wrote this piece in support and contribution of her final-year community impact group (Firm Locke) currently running an awareness campaign aimed at educating the youth about cyberbullying.

Similar News

 

Editorial: After-care services for rape victims needed

2 days ago - 24 September 2021 | Opinion

There is an urgent need to bolster professional response and after-care services for victims of rape in Namibia, especially children.The country’s child rape scourge has...

EDITORIAL: The monsters among us

3 days ago - 23 September 2021 | Opinion

It is continuing shame that especially little girls and women have to have it ingrained in them not to expose themselves to potentially dangerous situations...

An open letter to President Hage Geingob

3 days ago - 23 September 2021 | Opinion

Dear Mr President,I hope that the hustles and bustles of New York City, and those within the UN building at the Delegates Lounge with fellow...

Ngurare can be to Swapo be what Moses was...

3 days ago - 23 September 2021 | Opinion

ASSER NTINDATo say that Geingob is going to next year’s congress a deeply wounded man is an understatement. The Fishrot corruption scandal has figuratively skinned...

EDITORIAL: Forward with fishing quota auctions

4 days ago - 22 September 2021 | Opinion

On the face of it, the N$86 million fish auction deal struck with DRC looks sensible. But the bellyachers of Namibia’s fishing industry – who...

Ngurare can be to Swapo be what Moses was...

4 days ago - 22 September 2021 | Opinion

ASSER NTINDAThey say there is so much good in the worst of us, and so much bad in the best of us. But the trick...

FAO ready to help reform agri-food systems

4 days ago - 22 September 2021 | Opinion

QU DONGYUThe Food and Agriculture Organisation of the United Nations (FAO) has entered a new era with a new structure and new dynamics. The 2030...

EDITORIAL: Swapo must respect electoral court ruling

5 days ago - 21 September 2021 | Opinion

For years, the opposition in Namibia was blamed, sometimes correctly, of tainting the credibility of our elections.This is because even when there was no shred...

Your voice

5 days ago - 21 September 2021 | Opinion

This week we asked Unam hostel students to share their opinions on online dating and how can they protect themselves from catfishing.Patience MbungaOnline dating can...

EDITORIAL: Learn from your guarantee mistakes

6 days ago - 20 September 2021 | Opinion

Government guarantees are as old a practice as time itself. They are necessary in some instances, especially where real opportunity for the country exists.In Namibia...

Latest News

Marketing Namibia as an investment...

2 days ago - 24 September 2021 | Economics

PHILLEPUS UUSIKUThe ease of doing business, quality of roads and infrastructure, political and economic stability, good governance and judiciary independence are some of the factors...

Forklifting failure

2 days ago - 24 September 2021 | Others

Natasja ByleveldAre you OK thinking about unconventional ideas that could uplift society and norms to a higher standard? Do you like a challenge, or do...

Big thinker who is not...

2 days ago - 24 September 2021 | People

Contrasting with his considered, analytical, and steady approach to life, Rolf Mendelsohn is an undisputed adventurer. Together with the other founders of Paratus, Rolf...

Children abused as govt turns...

2 days ago - 24 September 2021 | Police

JEMIMA BEUKES WINDHOEKStaff at a centre for orphans and vulnerable people in Katutura...

Economy crawls into the green

2 days ago - 24 September 2021 | Economics

Jo-Maré Duddy WINDHOEKNamibia’s economy grew by 1.6% for the three months ended 30 June, the first positive year-on-year quarterly growth since the...

Oxygen giant spreads misinformation in...

2 days ago - 24 September 2021 | Health

MADLEN DAVIES and TUYEIMO HAIDULA LONDON/OSHAKATI One of the world’s biggest industrial gas companies spread misinformation in an attempt to stop...

Nigeria aims to boost oil...

2 days ago - 24 September 2021 | Economics

Nigeria said Wednesday it aims to produce 1.88 million barrels per day of crude oil next year and the budget will be based on the...

Submissions open for Hollard Sport...

2 days ago - 24 September 2021 | Economics

STAFF REPORTERLockdown and the limitations on gatherings and events have driven those in the sports marketing and promotional space to have to adapt, digitise, dig...

An easy ride-hailing platform

2 days ago - 24 September 2021 | Others

Wetumwene Shikage The everyday experience for many Namibians of getting a taxi to from different locations has been made more convenient. TaxiConnect provides an easy...

Load More