Bullying has been in existence long before the internet but has become severe with the emergence of the internet. Bullying used to be experienced when one was away from home or from parents, but presently it follows people up to the comfort of their bedroom. Online bullying, technologically known as online bullying is a staid predicament that leaves its victims hopeless and helpless. Online bullying is any aggravation that takes place online. This can be a comment made on the wall of one’s Facebook or any other social media account, nasty name calling on chat rooms and video conferences and slanderous messages sent via emails or instant messaging (Kowalski, 2008). Some examples of Online bullying are; a student receiving harassing and tormenting messages from unknown senders at home that they never get to meet or have no idea who these people are, name calling posts displayed all over spreading a fictitious rumor of an individual and which is considered true by peers, and impersonation on the social networks where a nasty content containing profile is created using one’s name but remains unknown to them (Hannah, 2010). One advantage with online bullying is the ease with which, the bullies get away with the crime. In Online space bullies can remain anonymous to their victims for as long as they want, unless thorough investigations that are so costly are conducted. But anyway, even these intense investigations at times work on assumptions and are not a sure means to catching up with the bullies (Gould et. al, 2011).
Identifying and working on victims on online space is pretty easy, especially with the so crowded social networks. This makes online bullying easier and fun to the bullies since they have so many victims at their disposal, and they can deal with multiple victims simultaneously. Idleness and lack of so much touch with the real world lures some teens into online bullying and harassment. People who were not instigators of bullying also are prone to online bullying since the reactions of their victims will forever remain unknown to them (Walker, 2010).
It is possible to control online bullying. The responsibility of dealing with online bullying lies with the victims of online bullying. They have all the power to stop the crime. This can be achieved by ensuring that the victims know how the crime is perpetrated. It is important for the victims to understand how to deal with the perpetrators. Most of the perpetrators are in search of some information that they will use to carry out the bullying. The more the victim entertains them, the more they will get deeper in their acts. So much can be done to curb online bullying. However, so much lies with the victim of bullying. The main thing is for the victim to ignore the bully, no matter how persistent the messages may be sent. It is beneficial for the victim not to play games in exchange; this eats so much into the confidence and esteem of the bully who eventually gives up on such a victim. This is so since a bully takes pride in countering the ideologies of their victims; a situation not availed by silence. However, the victim should keep the evidence as Online bullying only protects the identity of the bullies but avails the evidence (McQuade et.al, 2009).
Another way in which cyber bullying can be controlled is with parents and the authorities. Most of the cyber bullying takes place in schools. The children should not be allowed to have mobile phones and easily access the internet. This can be a hard policy to implement in schools but it is a better strategy so that kids learn how to use these gadgets when they have learnt how to manage their persona, information. While at this age, they are able to know how to deal with online crimes and criminals. At their tender ages, they do not know how to manage their privacy. They expose most of their information online. The parents should restrict their kids on the kind of information and the sites that they should visit. If the kids insist that they have to be online, then, the information that they post online should be controlled. It is important to understand this information and control the presence of the information. The role of the parents is also needed with the control of the access to communication gadgets like mobile phones. The easy access of mobile phones is one issue and contributing factor that makes kids to be easy prey of cyber bullying. This access should be limited. This is the responsibility of the parents. They should be the ones controlling the access of the mobile phones for the kids. Another way in which they can help to mitigate the chances of cyber bullying taking place is by informing the kids about the dangers of entertaining strangers. The children should be educated and informed about the dangers of sharing personal information with strangers on the internet.
The government’s hand in all this is necessary for the security measures to materialize. Furthermore, it needs to develop its own legal plan to protect information assets users in the country which has three main objectives. The first, Prepare and Prevent, is aimed at preventing attacks and threats to users of the internet and especially teenagers who use social networks. The second, Detect and Respond, blend in well with risk response where online bullying attacks should be detected and assessed quickly to enable containment and recovery of affected users. The final one, Build Strong Foundations, delves into the need to promote legal, human, and organizational resources that will facilitate the accomplishment of the other two objectives for the prosperity of the nation and security of citizens. There should also be stricter laws governing the use of the internet in schools. This should be looked into so that schools should be made aware of the dangers of allowing free access to internet for young people. There should be regulations by the government. The government should also have laws and regulations that should govern the control of service providers. They should have the service providers blocking some sites which are considered to be suspect. There are treaties that have been proposed that handles cyber crime. Regarding cyber bullying, never existed a legal framework governing cyber space in many countries, until recently when the “The Legal Framework of Cybercrime and Legal Enforcement” was proposed. This was to serve both as a guideline in dealing with cybercrime and as a means of sensitizing the government and the people in general to act rapidly towards cybercrime.
Disaster Recovery Planning is another part of response that online bullying victims cannot afford to ignore. As a defensive measure, it allows a victim to withstand or regain former posture from online bullying attacks and disasters. Social engineering gimmicks can cause an internet user to give up pertinent information unknowingly when a hacker uses the name of a well known person or organization to deceive him or her. The site managers should cooperate with service providers and other stakeholders to sensitize teenagers on the dangers of social engineering and phishing.
Internet service providers also have a role to play in the control of online bullying. Since most of the cyber bullying victims are young people, who are in school. This way, the internet service providers should block some sites like Facebook from being accessed in schools. This way, the perpetrators will not be in a position to get at young kids who are in school. The control of the sites which the kids should visit should be a mechanism that can be employed to be used in the control of this vice. It is important to understand the need to have these controls in place with the service providers.
Meeting the security challenge as concerns the use of social networks and cell phones in connection to cyber bullying cannot be done by parents alone; it requires a considerable level of cooperation between public and private stakeholders. In addition, the Internet has made the world a global village which means that cyber bullying cases are not limited to geographical locations, they can strike from anywhere in the world. Even more threatening is the speed at which they can bombard teenagers who subject themselves to the game without thinking. The social networks management needs to be able to implement a risk management plan quickly and work with international equivalents.
Carr, Ian. Computer crime. Farnham, England: Ashgate, 2009.
Kowalski, Robert, Sammy Limber and Peter Agatston. Cyber bullying: Bullying in the digital age. Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishers, 2008.
McQuade, Sammy, Peter Colt and Benard Meyer. Cyber bullying: Protecting kids and adults from online bullies. Westport, Conn.: Publishers, 2009.