01st May, 2023
Bullying is a major social issue in most countries around the world and can affect the lives of people of all ages, races and backgrounds.
The kind of aggressive behaviour that we see as bullying is almost as old as time itself and sadly, it is just as prevalent today as it has been in years gone by – or even more so.
Bullying is the use of power or influence by the perpetrator to harm another party or obtain some kind leverage over them: physically, emotionally or both.
Forms of bullying include but are not limited to physical bullying, verbal bullying, social bullying and cyberbullying.
Each form of bullying is equally harmful and damaging to the victim’s emotional and mental wellness and we all have some kind of role to play in protecting those around us from being bullied.
It is imperative that governments, employers, educational institutions and community groups work together to promote antibullying and prevent harmful behaviours, while as responsible individuals we also need to aware of what is going on around us and if unable to stop the bullying ourselves, then we should escalate the problem to someone who can.
- Physical Bullying
This involves the use of physical force by the perpetrator to intimidate the victim by way of striking, kicking, pushing, shoving, tripping or initiating any other kind of physical contact that is meant to harm or intimidate the other party.
Physical bullying is used to establish control over the victim and can lead to serious injuries or even death.
- Verbal Bullying
This kind of bullying sees the use of words to intimidate or harm the victim by way of insults, teasing, name-calling, swearing, mocking or issuing threats.
Verbal bullying is every bit as damaging as physical bullying as it may affect the victim’s self-esteem and confidence. It can lead to psychological issues and drive the victim towards self-harm and even taking their own life.
Delivery of verbal bullying takes many forms and the victim may become just as traumatised from a threat whispered to them as if they would be if the bully shouted at them.
- Social Bullying
Social bullying involves the use of social manipulation to harm or intimidate the victim.
This can include gossiping or spreading rumours about or humiliating the victim, excluding them from social groups or ostracising them, which makes them feel alone, isolated and powerless.
While the other common forms of bullying have been around for centuries – or even longer – cyberbullying is still relatively new.
Cyberbullying takes place online or through digital devices and is especially harmful because in many instances it is anonymous and can reach a much wider audience than more traditional forms of bullying – and in a matter of seconds.
Examples of Cyberbullying include sending abusive or threatening messages, posting humiliating or embarrassing posts, photos or videos or spreading rumours or lies about the victim.
The anonymity factor includes setting up fake social media accounts to harass the victim and these days it is also easy to send anonymous/difficult to trace emails and text/voice messages.
IDENTIFYING AND PREVENTING CYBERBULLYING
It isn’t always easy to identify cyberbullying as in the majority of cases it takes place through digital devices or online.
However, if we are alert or vigilant, it isn’t difficult to pick up on the fact that a family member, friend, workplace or school colleague is being cyberbullied.
Signs to watch out for include:
- Changes in behaviour including withdrawal or depression.
- Withdrawing from or avoiding social situations (such as invitations to events) or activities that they previously participated in and enjoyed.
- A decrease in self-esteem and/or confidence.
- Eating disorders or changes of sleep pattern.
- No longer willing to use digital devices or go online.
Preventing cyberbullying requires a collective effort from the government, employers, parents, teachers, and the rest of community.
Governments can take the lead in educating the public about the dangers of cyberbullying and its consequences by way of providing resources and training for teachers, parents, and students on how to recognise and prevent it.
They should also introduce legislation specifically addressing cyberbullying and specify legal consequences for those who engage in it; they need to collaborate with technology companies to develop and implement effective measures to prevent cyberbullying and they should otherwise support victims of cyberbullying by providing funding for research into its causes and effects.
Parents and students need to be educated about the dangers of cyberbullying and how to avoid it while workers and students should be encouraged to speak up if they are being cyberbullied or know someone who is.
In the home, children’s online activity should be monitored and time limits set on digital device usage and kids should be taught to be kind and respectful online.
INVICTUS SOLUTIONS AND ANTIBULLYING
Invictus Solutions is committed to promoting antibullying and preventing all forms of bullying, including cyberbullying through the Services we provide.
We facilitate a wide range of workshops in various settings, including high schools, tertiary institutions, businesses, and community groups which are culturally sensitive, interactive, and practical, and are designed to provide participants with the tools and resources they need to prevent and avoid bullying.
In terms of schools, Invictus Solutions is able to assist students and their parents and teachers in methodically addressing and dealing with the many issues that young people face in today’s digital world, including cyberbullying.
We have the capacity to facilitate multiple cyberbullying workshops at the same campus, providing different presentations and levels of information tailored to the age of the audience.
Our facilitators, headed by Invictus Solutions founder Dean Mousad are experienced, qualified and passionate about helping others. They will tell their audience all there is to know about cyberbullying.