By Rubab Mehboob.
Cyber bullying is the most common and talking point now days. What is cyber bullying? Why people target other and offend them? Is this because people are suffering from some psychological disease? Are they sadist? Or it’s a pleasurable time pass for them? All these questions arise in one’s mind whenever we come across serious cases of cyber bullying. It’s frightening that cyber bullying has become viral and people are pulled into well of misery, hopelessness, fear and depression. Though cyber bullying does not involve personal contact between an offender and victim, it remains psychologically and emotionally damaging.
We broadly define cyber bullying as willful and repeated harm inflicted through the use of computers, Cell phones and other electronic devices. Most often, cyber bullying is carried out by using a personal computer or cellular phone to express malicious or mean sentiments to another individual. Another common method involves posting humiliating or embarrassing information about someone in a public online forum. Cyber bullying is basically mistreatment against the victim. In case of cyber bullying offender is distant from victim. Cyber bullying is not only the issue of men or women rather it is issue of all age groups who are using social media and internet now days. As cyber bullying is issue of everyone and people of all age group still it is a gender phenomenon. Women and men both face bullying and harassment but scenario for women is harsher as compare to men. This does not mean that men are always the bullies and women the only ones who are being bullied, but there are clear gender differences in the harassment itself. Men are to a larger extent attacked for their opinions, whereas women receive comments related to their gender and appearance. Male victims tend to feel vengeful and angry while female victims experienced self‐pity and depression.
Technologies are use as weapon to harass women. Women are unsafe in real world and now she is targeted in virtual world too. She is unsafe in media, on internet or on social media. Digital permanence is major issue which has created mess in all around cyber world. What so ever is posted on internet can never be deleted because internet never forgets or delete any sort of information. This digital permanence makes this issue of harassment more severe. Women are exploited through pictures. There personal picture are edited in vulgar manner and posted everywhere. This kind of acts snatches women’s freedom and they feel unsafe while sharing their pictures to their friends and family which at the end of the day lead them to insecurity and depression. It’s not about sharing pictures or without sharing pictures women cannot survive it’s about interfering in one’s personal life and exploiting their life with such cheap and below standard acts.
Most of us think that housewife or rural women are target of such bullies but it’s not in that way. Independent and working women who run their home and are confident is main target of such bullies. Cyber bullying is playing a major role in shattering one’s confidence and self-respect. Celebrities are good example of such harassment. Female and male celebrity both are targeted with negative and cheap comments but in case of female celebrity they are branded a tart, a slut or a whore. It’s shameful that females are bullied and harass through such cyber bullets not always by men but also by women. Women out of insecurities target other women and make them feel disgusted and worthless.
Another major target of cyber bullying is minorities. This is a democratic problem the media loves to promote young female public debaters with minority background. But at the same time, these are the ones who experience most bullying. They have a triple burden to carry in terms of gender, age, and ethnic background. Many of them have no protection from an employer or the community, which makes it even more challenging.
Cyber bullying has shot to the forefront of agendas in schools and local communities due to the intangible harm that victims suffer. While many students deny the seriousness of name‐calling, teasing. Cyber bullying is not just common in adults but teenagers and university students are also victim of bullying. Students who are more intelligent usually tend to bully their fellows by tagging them in humiliating posts to prove them idiots. They give remarks about them and make fun of their aims and future plans. Such cyber bullying makes students depressed and they consider their self-worthless. Most of the times students who are timid and cannot bear such situation commit suicide because their mind is occupied with idea that they are of no use and they can do nothing worth.
Sadly, we live in a culture of digital cruelty that no one is immune to. Whether you are man, woman, celebrity, the child of journalist or an average person trying to get through life- you can be struck down by emotional keystrokes of cyber bullets. So we should consider cyber bullying as crime. Cyber bullying is not a joke. We are making money off the back of suffering.
Writer is an English literature student and hails from Islamabad.