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Cyberbullying: technological aggression

Cyberbullying: technological aggression

July 19, 2024

It is a reality that people start using technologies (mobile, internet, etc.) at increasingly younger ages. Whenever I think about this I remember the video of that baby trying to enlarge a paper photo with the sole power of his fingers.

Having premature contact with this infinite virtual world full of possibilities is not matched to the maturity, also necessary, to know the risks of the network and the appropriate tools to self-protect, as well as the criterion to discriminate the moderately reliable information from which it is not.

When technological means such as internet, mobile or online videogames are used to exert peer psychological harassment, we talk about a phenomenon called cyberbullying or cyberbullying .

What is cyberbullying?

It is a particular type of harassment that occurs between peers, friends and people of similar age group and that can have different manifestations within the ICT environment (offenses, threats, blackmail, humiliation, insults ...).

The cyber goes one step beyond bullying or traditional harassment. They are two forms of aggression between equals that share many characteristics. However, the first has certain peculiarities that make it even more harmful for the victim.

In anonymity in networks

In the first place, the fact that aggression is exercised through a virtual space favors the anonymity of the aggressor. This status gives the individual greater freedom to act, since he is less exposed to being caught . Put another way, compared to what happens in traditional harassment, in cyberbullying the attacker gets "more for less".

Constant and almost uncontrollable attacks

Second, the victim of cyberbullying becomes, once elected, an "easy target" for the aggressor . It is available 24 hours a day, while in bullying, attacks are usually limited to those moments and spaces where both parties coexist (for example, the school), leaving the child "freed" from the pressure when he returns to the security of your home.

In addition, it must be added that contacts are always initiated at the will of the aggressor, without the victim having any control over them.

It is accessible at all times and can not avoid, as would happen in bullying, transit certain sites that you know are dangerous, since the network, in this sense, keeps them continuously connected. This causes the victim to develop a feeling of unpredictability and uncontrollability that generates anxiety and fears.

Lack of empathy in cyberbullying

Another differentiating aspect of this type of harassment has to do with distancing from the victim and the absence of social cues. The fact of not seeing the face and suffering of the person who is being insulted, humiliating, threatening, etc. facilitates the development of these behaviors.

This distance hinders empathy, that is, the ability to put oneself in the skin of the victim and know how he is feeling, which could suppose a brake on the aggression.

Regarding social cues, in cyberbullying neither are there direct spectators who give negative feedback to the aggressor (disagreement, bad faces, defense of the victim and other elements used in initiatives such as the KiVa method) that allow the latter to regulate their own behavior. He is alone and free of all feedback to act.

The massive use -and in some cases exclusive- of virtual environments for the development of social relations has some risks such as the tendency to depersonalization ("I in the network vs. I in reality"), the fantasy-reality confusion (forgetting that this insult is as real as if I say it in person) or the construction of erroneous moral judgments.

Public humiliation

Two last characteristics make the effect of cyberbullying more powerful. First, thanks to the technologies, the harasser can reach a much wider audience , for example, spreading a hoax about the person in one of their social networks. Second, I'm sure you've heard that "what's hanging on the net, stays in the network".

Because of this, the effect of aggression through the environment of technologies and the Internet is much more permanent. It is not limited to the moment in which the person is insulted, but rather it stays for a long time in that virtual cloud .

The cases of cyberbullying are growing in a worrying way. The introduction into the world of technologies should come with an "instruction manual", administered by educators, parents, etc., that Include a section aimed at raising awareness about the risks and the real impact that cyberbullying can have in a person's life and train in adequate self-protection measures.

Cyberbullying - What Can You Do to Help? (July 2024).

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