Cyberbullying is expanding as new social media platforms are being created. One of the most popular ways that teens today are using to share their interests, life updates, and hobbies is through Instagram.
Instagram is an online mobile photo-sharing, video-sharing, and social networking service that enables its users to take pictures and videos, and share them either publicly or privately on the app. An average of 55 million photos are shared each day on Instagram. Since the app has become popular, it has also attracted cyberbullies. Here’s a few different ways the Instagram bully works
- Post a malicious or embarrassing photo of a target for all of their followers to see
- Write a caption on a disgusting or insulting photo and tag it with a target’s username
- Post cruel remarks under a photo that someone else posts
- Use the “Add People” feature and tag an image with the target’s name
- Add a mean hashtag under a photo
- Create a fake account with the victim’s name
- Post screenshots of private text messages
- Post embarrassing screenshots while using FaceTime
Today, cyberbullying is not just about having one bully target a victim. It is about everyone talking behind each other’s back.
Cyberbullying has become more common today because of the advancement of technology. Teens now are using anonymous messaging applications on their phones to bully others. These apps allows for them to use fake numbers to call and text others.
Experts have defined cyberbullying as the actions of someone being hurtful repeatedly and deliberately to others.
Recently, Google Chrome added an extension which acts as a spellcheck for negative language. This extension lets the writer think twice about what they are about to send and gives them an opportunity to change it.
Did you know that you can now buy cyberbullying insurance coverage to protect against Internet-enabled harassment?
Chubb Limited is a Swiss insurance company offering its customers cyberbullying insurance in the United Kingdom and soon the United States. The coverage would be part of their larger Masterpiece Family Protection policy. It will provide compensation for the following:
- Psychiatric services
- Rest and recuperation expenses
- Lost salary
- Temporary relocation services
- Education expenses
- Professional public relations services
- And much more!
The company believes that the increased in technology has brought many benefits as well as challenges.
“Technology’s biggest benefit — an interconnected world — can also be its biggest challenge. Cyberbullying, including online threats and harassment, can damage your or your child’s reputation, and cause financial loss and emotional harm. Chubb’s new policy helps victims reclaim their lives.”
However, the policy seems to really gear towards Chubb Limited’s high-profile and wealthy clientele.
Recent research has concluded the traditional bullying is quite different from cyberbullying. A current study by the University of British Columbia concluded that cyberbullying is now becoming a bigger and more common problem than traditional bullying.
A Psychology Today article mentions the following regarding the major differences between cyberbullying and traditional bullying:
Previous research indicates that cyberbullying is rarely pre-meditated like traditional bullying, where the bully plans his or her line of attack. In many cases cyberbullying is done impulsively and not planned out like in traditional bullying where the bully pre-meditates the next attack. Also, traditional bullying has the following characteristics that may not be present in cyberbullying cases:
- A need for power and control
- Proactively targeting the victim
The article also mentions that by educating today’s youth, we will be able to decrease cyberbullying and its effects. Please read this article to learn more about the difference between cyberbullying and traditional bullying, and how teens can protect themselves online.
Today, there are not many laws protecting victims of cyberbullying. In Pennsylvania, a new law was added to the existing harassment law. The new law will make it easier for law enforcement to charge others of cyberbullying-related crimes and the punishment will be different from regular harassment punishment.
The law defines cyber harassment of a child as a threat or “seriously disparaging” comment made online about a child’s sexuality, sexual activity, physical appearance, mental health or physical health or condition. These comments must be made “in a continuing course.
The increment in severity and frequency in cyberbullying over the last few years has made the government, school systems, and parents to take more actions in order to prevent this form of bullying. The new law is just one step into decreasing the effects of cyberbullying.
Please read more regarding this new law in Pennsylvania.