Cyberbullying: technological aggression

It is a reality that people started to use technologies (mobile, internet, etc.) at an increasingly early age. Every time I think about it, I remember the video of this baby trying to enlarge a photo on paper with the only power of his fingers.

Having a premature contact with this infinite virtual world full of possibilities does not correspond to the maturity, also necessary, to know the risks of the network and the appropriate tools to protect oneself, as well as the criterion of discrimination of moderately reliable information. Which it is not.

When we use technological means like the Internet, cell phones or online video games to engage in psychological harassment among peers, we are talking about a phenomenon called cyberbullying or cyberbullying.

What is cyberbullying?

It is a special type of harassment that occurs between peers, friends and people of the same age group and which it can have different manifestations in the ICT environment (Offenses, threats, blackmail, harassment, insults …).

Cibera goes beyond traditional bullying or harassment. These are two forms of peer aggression that share many characteristics. However, the first has some peculiarities that make it even more harmful to the victim.

In anonymity on the networks

First, the fact that the aggression takes place through a virtual space promotes the aggressor’s anonymity. This law gives more freedom to the individual to act as he is less exposed to getting caught. In other words, 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 he becomes, once chosen, an “easy target” for the aggressor. It is available 24 hours a day, while in bullying, attacks are usually limited to times and spaces where the two parties live together (eg, school), and the child is “released” from the environment. pressure when it returns to the safety of your home. .

In addition, it should be added that contacts are always initiated at the discretion of the aggressor, without the victim being able to have control.

It is accessible at all times and cannot avoid, as would happen in intimidation, to go through certain places which it knows to be dangerous, because the network, in this sense, keeps them permanently connected. This provokes the development of the victim a feeling of unpredictability and uncontrollability which generates anxiety and fears.

Lack of empathy in cyberbullying

Another differentiating aspect of this type of harassment is linked to the distance of the victim and the absence of social keys. Not seeing the person’s face and suffering who is insulted, humiliated, threatened, etc. facilitates the development of these behaviors.

This distance hinders empathy, that is, the ability to put yourself in the victim’s shoes and know how they are feeling, which could be a brake on aggression.

As for social keys, cyberbullying there are also no direct viewers giving negative comments to the abuser (Disagreement, bad faces, victim defense and other elements used in initiatives like the Kiva method) that allow him to regulate his own behavior. He is alone and free of any return to act.

The massive – and in some cases exclusive – use of virtual environments for the development of social relations carries risks such as the tendency to depersonalization (“I in the network against me in reality”), fantasy-reality confusion ( forgetting that this insult is as real as if I said it in person) or the construction of wrong moral judgments.

Public humiliation

Last two features make the effect of cyberbullying more powerful. First, thanks to technology, the stalker it can reach a much larger audienceFor example, spreading a rumor about the person on one of their social networks. Second, you’ve probably heard that “what happens on the net stays on the net”.

For this reason, the effect of aggression across technology and the Internet environment is much more permanent. It is not limited to when the person is insulted, but it stays in this virtual cloud for a long time.

Cases of cyberbullying are increasing alarmingly. The introduction into the world of technology should be accompanied by an “instruction manual”, administered by educators, parents, etc., which include a section aimed at raising awareness of the risks and real impact that cyberbullying can have in a person’s life and training in appropriate self-protection measures.

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