Cyberbullying attacks are getting worse with social media

by | Oct 5, 2017 | Biz/Tech

Terrence Bishundayal
Biz/Tech Reporter

Humber’s Project Management student Maninder Kaur, 24, sees online bullying is getting worse.

Cyberbullying on many occasions is bundled in videos posted on social media, she said.

Once content is posted, and other people share it, they will start commenting and picking sides, she said.

This is different from when Kaur became a user of social media in 2010, as websites and apps were not heavily focused on media posts.

“The advancements in technology make it easier to target others,” Kaur said.

A recent Australian study showed young adults aged between 18 and 24 were more likely to be cyberbullied, and women were often targets of sexual harassment. Overall, about 60 per cent of the 3,000 surveyed reported an incident.

October is National Bullying Prevention Awareness Month where schools and organizations work to encourage bullying and cyberbullying.

Paul Ooi, 32, a Web Development student, agrees that people mistreating others on the internet is an expanding issue.

“There is free speech, but hurting someone else can be avoided by appropriately saying your message,” Ooi said.

It is stressful for any post-secondary student who is a victim of cyberbullying. As this is a distraction from school, family, friends, and work life, Ooi said.

Humber professor Naveen Joshi, who teaches critical race studies and digital technology, said the use of social media is continuing to transform the way bullying is carried out by an individual.

“You can do it anonymously,” he said.

In many situations, the victim does know the identity of the person who is picking on them, but that is not always the case, Joshi said. Those who have 1,000-plus cyber friends most likely don’t know everyone, he said.

Kaur says while it’s necessary to be more vocal about bullying, it is best for anyone to seek help, especially students attending post-secondary institutions, as it could lead to mental health issues and potentially cause someone to drop their course.

Ooi agrees, but takes on the perspective of the person who is doing the bullying.

“If you’re the bully then stopping is a great idea, as it’s unacceptable and not professional, especially as it affects young adults trying to build a career,” he said.

Joshi said many victims unwittingly set themselves up to be bullied by posting personal information and feelings. The victim feels they have no way of getting out, while the other person feels the need to attack on the prey they are targeting, he said.

“Why are you asking for this to be done to you?” Joshi said.