Perhaps technological development and the emergence of social media have several advantages that give us more development in communication with others and production, but the negative practices of some people are also growing and keeping pace with the trends of the time, so harassment is a phenomenon that has existed since eternity, and perhaps since the emergence of all humanity, and instead of eliminating negative and harmful phenomena such as these in society, we develop them and facilitate their dissemination and practice in line with the technology of the time.
There are many differences in the definition of bullying and the acts that are considered bullying, because bullying is repeated aggressive behaviour that aims at intentionally harming another person, physically or psychologically. Bullying is characterised by the fact that an individual behaves in certain ways in order to gain power over another person.
Bullying in its advanced and modern form is electronic bullying, which UNICEF has defined as harassment using digital technologies and which can occur on social networks, messaging platforms, gaming platforms and mobile phones, and is repetitive behaviour that is intended to intimidate, provoke or discredit those targeted.
Acts that are considered cyberbullying include spreading lies about a person or posting embarrassing pictures of them on social networks, sending harmful messages or threats, impersonating someone or creating false accounts and sending offensive messages, describing a person with offensive descriptions such as commenting on their appearance with hurtful words.
Cyberbullying statistics show that 43% of children who use the Internet are victims of bullying, and 70% of secondary school students have experienced repeated cyberbullying.
Exposure to electronic bullying is not only an accident and the victim will easily get around it, but it has psychological and physical effects on the subject of this phenomenon, which are feelings of fear, isolation and distress in addition to low self-esteem and feelings of shame, and can lead to thoughts of suicide, as it also affects academic achievement.
On the physical level, cyberbullying leads to physical exhaustion of the victim through insomnia, headaches and stomach aches.
It seems that the real problem with the spread of this phenomenon is the lack of laws that criminalise the act of bullying and punish those who practise it. Before talking about methods to combat it, the fundamental problem needs to be addressed. Today, most countries in the world do not have a clear law that criminalises the act of electronic bullying, and there is no legal text that states the term bullying as an act that punishes its perpetrator.
Therefore, confronting this phenomenon is the responsibility of many parties, the first of which is the legislative authorities who must enact laws that criminalise the practitioners of this act and deter them from engaging in electronic bullying, and the fight against this phenomenon begins with the family who must become aware of the child by talking to him or her about bullying and its negative aspects. Others in order not to practise this act, as well as how to remedy it in case of such exposure, and also to encourage the child or adolescent to talk to his or her parents in case of abuse without fear or hesitation in order to avoid the problem.
The awareness of a child or adolescent is not limited to the family, but takes place in partnership with the school, which must train the pupil and educate him or her in social life, take the issue of bullying seriously and hold accountable those who abuse and misuse others within the school.
Bullying affects many adolescents, children and young people and is a widespread phenomenon that kills their psyche and their social, practical and academic life, therefore it is imperative to fight against this phenomenon and to take legal and educational measures to reduce its spread and practice in order to achieve a psychologically normal society capable of producing and combating all negative phenomena.
Written by Zainab ALOKAIDI