Bullying is an epidemic, and it is one that government and educational institutions across the world have been tackling for decades. Risk management has been one of the most important factors in getting a handle on bullying. We have seen this demonstrated by schools adding anti-bullying programs to the curriculum and governments releasing annual information and statistics on bullying, prevention, and response.
Yet, because of increasing media consumption and social media use worldwide, cyberbullying has also increased. For example, in 2016, the number of teens in the United States experiencing cyberbullying was around 32%; that figure jumped to 43% in 2019. Cyberbullying is constantly evolving too, and even though institutions are putting out new information on cyberbullying, it’s happening at such a rapid rate that people also need to conduct their own risk management to avoid falling victim to stalking, bullying, and masquerading.
What Is Cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying refers to any online harassment, such as threatening or intimidating instant messages and emails or posts on social networking sites like Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. Cyberbullying has been around since the early days of the internet, but it has become worse as technology has advanced. Changes in online culture have also impacted its severity. For instance, cyberbullying no longer only applies to just malicious emails or Facebook messages, but memes are also a popular form of cyberbullying.
Stalking via geolocation data and metadata has also emerged over the years. Whenever someone posts a photo on Instagram without their privacy settings turned on, there is geolocation data and metadata attached. That means stalkers have access to information like where someone took the photo and on what day.
However, it’s important to note that there are also individual preventative measures people can put in place if they are experiencing cyberbullying or their loved ones are. For example, one of the best ways to approach cyberbullying is to save the evidence. That could include printing out messages or taking screenshots that could be used as evidence in the pursuit of legal action or disciplinary action from the school or institution.
Likewise, because cyberbullying violates the Terms of Service of all major social media platforms like Instagram and Facebook, people should always report abuse to the platform. These Terms of Service are there for a reason, and victims of cyberbullying should take advantage of that. People can also turn on their privacy settings on social media sites, such as Instagram, which allows users to block certain words and phrases from appearing.
Risk Management and Prevention
Companies and governments are trying desperately to reduce the problem of cyberbullying.
Risk management, composed of research and action, is a crucial part of our world; that includes dealing with bullying and cyberbullying, an area of harassment that is constantly evolving. There are many types of cyberbullying, and each has its own consequences. Familiarizing yourself with all of the available information on the subject is essential, but so is finding ways to address cyberbullying, such as not engaging, printing out messages, and taking screenshots.