Cyberbullying and Cyberstalking. Pernicious Aspects of Social Media

Essay, 2018

16 Pages, Grade: 1,7



Cyberbullying and Cyberstalking as Pernicious Aspects of Social Media

Discuss some of what constitute in your opinion the most pernicious and dangerous aspects of social media. What can be done to control these?

Technology and online communication nowadays play a major role in many aspects of our daily lives. Especially, when it comes to social media companies, including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, Ask.fim or Kik. Many people, particularly young children, use various social media platforms to communicate with friends or their family, to get inspired, to grow personally, for international business purposes, to develop new relationships or for entertainment purposes. Along with the growth in usage of social media, however, there are increasing concerns over its benefits as well as safety. One of the pernicious concerns of social media is cyberbullying, as well as cyberstalking. Recent studies indicate that in 2009 and 2011 5-40% of young users are victims of a cyberbullying incidents (Maiuro, 2015, p. 100). The fact that many of these incidents end up with tragic suicide, constitutes cyberbullying as one of the most dangerous aspect of social media. "What makes cyber bullying so dangerous ... is that anyone can practice it without having to confront the victim. You don't have to be strong or fast, simply equipped with a cell phone or computer and a willingness to terrorize" (Kowalski, Limber, and Agatston, 2012 p. 2). Therefore, it is significant to be familiar with the term and the cyberbullying prototypes. Additionally, it is important to discuss the negative impact of cyberbullying on the victims to make clear how serious the problem is. A further mentionable aspect is to critically analyze the causes of bullying behavior and the warning sings if someone experiences this issue. Last but not least, an important step to reduce cyberbullying is to introduce prevention strategies in general for parents, as well as educators and finally to critically discuss their effectiveness. Besides, the term cyberstalking should also be defined and its dangerous aspects should be illustrate as well. The effects on the victim and the prototypes of this world wide problem plays a major role. Furthermore, it is essential to discuss how a person can respond or protect him or herself when experiencing cyberstalking. Both aspects are new crimes and only exist since the internet had developed in many ways. All in all, this Essay is going to focus on cyberbullying incidents among young social media users, while the aspects of cyberstalking will deal with the problems men and women experiences with this topic.

Since technology has advanced dramatically the last years, cyberbullying, as well as cyberstalking have become a serious issue nowadays. According to a statistic in 2016, 94% of young children and adults own a smartphone with internet access (Ultius, 2016). Nonetheless, many people are still not familiar with both terms. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (2018), cyberbullying is referred to as "bulliying that takes place over digital devices like cell phones, computers, and tablets. Cyberbullying can occur through SMS, Text, and apps, or online in social media, forums, or gaming [...]. Cyberbullying includes sending, posting, or sharing negative, harmful or false, or mean content about someone else causing embarrassment or humiliation." In addition, cyberbullying potentially co-occur with traditional bullying, which is also a form of bullying, wich a victim experiences in person, wether it is verbally or physically. On the contrary, 3.4 Million people experienced cyberstalking (Maiuro, 2015), which is "a specialized form of stalking, which takes place in cyberspace using Internet capable tools. The stalking behavior is carried out using a variety of electronic communication methods across different online domains. These include emails, instant messenger (IM) messages, blog posts, text messages and any other form of electronic communication which is persistent, annoying, alarming or threatening to the victim (Bradford, 2010, p. 100).

To get a better understanding of why this topic is a serious problem, it is necessary to briefly give the most common examples of cyberbullying stereotypes or tactics, as well as the different forms of cyberstalking. One of the cyberbullying form is flaming, which refers to sending a person angry and annoying messages with capital letter in an inappropriate language. Another strategy, called harassment, is an online discrimination based on a persons status, gender, religion or sexual orientation. A further form of cyberbullying, called denigration, is sending or posting mean or false information about someone else, whereas masquerading is a tactic of using the identity of another person by using their email or phone to send rude and inappropriate messages to other people. The next form of cyberbullying is the social exclusion, whereby a group isolate, ignore or block a single person from an online group chat to give them the feeling their do not belong to their peer group (Bauman, 2010). Furthermore, one of the cyberstalking forms is associated with making threats against the victim, their colleagues or family thru emails, via instant messaging, text messaging or fax. In addition, false accusations also refers to a form of cyberstalking, which is a strategy of the cyberstalker to harm or ruin the reputation of the victim by sharing private photos or information online or sending direct emails to friends, family or colleagues with mean content. False victimization is a further behavior, whereas many cyberstalker attempt to blame their victim for their actions by spreading the rumor that the victim harassed them. In addition, abusing the victims by sending offensive emails, including pornographic or abusing material is another harmful strategy many cyberstalker seek to do. Attacks on data and equipment is an another form to damage the computer system by transmitting a virus or other dangerous programs. Moreover, a cyberstalker will try to get as much as information about the victim as possible. The offender might try to hack the victims computer or speak to friends or relatives by acting as an old friend of the victim to gather useful informations and then to organize them in folders. Getting other people involved to harass the victim online is also a method of many cyberstalker. Moreover, they spread false informations about the victim and share his or her number to claim that the victim is sexually available. Many cyberstalker also subscribe to magazines, using the victims name and address or they order something online like sex toys to have them delivered to the victims house or even to their workplace to cause embarrassment. Sometimes, the cyberstalker claimes how obsessed he or she is with the victim or send intimate and pornographic images. Besides, many cyberstalker simply threaten and frighted the victim with mean sentences, such as "you will regret what you did the rest of your life" or "wherever you are.. .1 will come and get you" (Al Mutawa et. al., 2016). Last but not least, cyberstalker might meet their victims or follow them and at worse, they sometimes physically attack them in real life (Bocji, 2004).

Although there is not a legitimate reason to harass or humiliate someone online, many cyberbullies and cyberstalker have certain motives to continue with their actions. Therefore, being aware of the reasons why people cyberbully or stalk others online, play a major role to prevent worse incidents. On the one hand, a simple motive could be that when a kid has been bullied, he or she seek to revenge. As a consequence of their cyberbullying experiences, they bully other people to retaliate for the pain. Therefore they find it justifying to target weaker people to go through the same harassment. On the other hand, many cyberbullies believe that the victim deserves this horrible experience. It is often related to a persons social status at school, for instance a girl or a boy is jealous of other persons academic success in school, therefore they try to bring her or him down intentionally. Another motive might be that one girl try to harm another girl because she thinks she stole her boyfriend. Therefore, many cyberbullies do not regret o feel guilty about their behavior. Many kids also try gain and increase their social power by diminishing the social status of another person. Besides, kids relate to cyberbullying as an entertainment purpose because they feel board or simple want to gain attention because they do not get enough supervision from their parents. As a consequence, they spend most of their time online to humiliate other vulnerable people to create a digital drama. A further reason for their actions is that many kids try to fit in a peer group to feel accepted, which leads them to participate in cyberbullying attacks. Even though, they know that their behavior is linked to serious consequences, the pressure to fit in a group is stronger. The fact that the internet provides anonymity, let most kids believe they would not get caught. For them it is easier to bully online than traditionally. Instead, they feel popular, funny, powerful and enjoy the attention on various social media platforms. As a result, they show a lack of empathy towards other people and continue for longer (Gordon, 2018). "They prank call very, very, very often. Three, four times per day for about a year" (boy 13); "on the net and stuff one dares to say more maybe then one would do in reality" (girl, 15), (Slonje, Smith, Frisèn, 2012, p.4). The motive why cyberstalker seek to continue with their harassment is similar to cyberbullies. Although, Drahokoupilovâs study illustrates that "many cyberstalkers are "normal" people, who would never commit any crime in the real world" (2014, p. 149), they are still motives why a cyberstalker would harm other people online. Typically, the offenders seek to stress and terrorize their victim by controlling and embarrassing them. The fact that a cyberstalker does not has to reveal his or her real identity, is a reason to frighted the victim and stalk everything they are doing online. Many cyberstalker also had a former romantic relationship with their victims, hence, they trying to get revenge by terrorizing their ex partners for leaving them. They often hack their ex partners social media accounts to follow his activities and to read all the private massages he or she might texting to a new lover. Moreover, the fact that the offenders collect different pictures of their victims and ask for nudes, indicates that their motivation also relates to sexual interest. All, in all, analyzing the relationship between the offender and the victim, 35%o had a former romantic relationship with their victim, 40%> used to work together. 80%> of the majority were male cyberstalker, who stalk 60%> females and 20%> of the cyberstalking cases males stalker other men (Al Mutawa, et al. p. 101).


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Cyberbullying and Cyberstalking. Pernicious Aspects of Social Media
Dublin City University
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cyberbullying, cyberstalking, pernicious, aspects, social, media
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Anonymous, 2018, Cyberbullying and Cyberstalking. Pernicious Aspects of Social Media, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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