Sunday, 29 November 2015

Cyber-Bullying: its implications for adults

Latest research and statistics suggest a marked shift in age groups that are targeted by Cyber-bulling. It seems as though no one, not even adults, are safe from this social malaise. It is not just kids who are vulnerable to cyber-bulling, but also adults in the age group of 19 to 49, according to an article titled: Cyber-bullying trolls target more WA adults, by Phil Hickey in the Herald Sun,Melbourne on July25,2015. The situation in Australia might not after all be different from what we observe in India or any other country!
The statistics provided in the article suggest that today it is not just children but also adults who are victims of cyber-bullying. I remember the days when I would be greeted in school by a little girl with red eyes who would tell me that she had been cyber-bullied by another girl in her class. Stories of school children falling into depression after being told that they were fat, or looked ugly on social networking sites have been doing the rounds, but then in the midst of such stories are stories about mature adults being targeted for bullying on social networking sites. One incident that I came to know took place in a Government Aided School in Delhi where a girl studying in grade eleven wrote a lot of derogatory stuff about her teacher on Face book because her teacher had ticked her off in class for some misdemeanour. She had also morphed her teacher’s photograph in a manner that was inappropriate. This was the first time when I came to know that adults could also be cyber-bullied. The girl had not realised that what was posted on the face book group was visible to others!
The girl had not realised that what she had done, probably on the spur of the moment, could cause great mental trauma to the teacher who had been targeted. Unfortunately people who resort to such activities might not realise the far reaching implications of their actions. What starts as a harmless prank might end up causing more harm than a laugh. In another instance of the targeting of a mature adult, a female lecturer in a college in England was the victim of a serious series of derogatory comments on a social networking site. The teacher resigned from her post, but before she left, she addressed the perpetrators of the crime and asked them what they thought how her teenaged children would feel if they saw the comments they had posted about her. Stories such as these abound in countries all over the world. There is perhaps a reason why education authorities in India forbid the use of mobile phones in schools, not only by teachers, but also by students. In times when technology has reached such an advanced stage, one can never guaranty that its use will be in accordance with norms of propriety.
The posting of photographs, and videos without the permission of the person central to the media constitutes Cyber-bullying. The same can be said of the posting of derogatory comments mean to vilify and hurt the individual. In such cases, not even adults can be said to be invulnerable to such attacks for the mere fact that they are grown up, mature adults, who are impervious to personal attack!
The article mentioned above suggests that the perpetrators of the crime of cyber-bullying might not be limited, however to children and young people. Adults too can be conscious perpetrators of the crime of cyber-bullying. To quote from the article: Cyber-bullying trolls target more WA adults, “Its not just little Tommy or Mary in the playground that is getting hit hard — it’s adults, too. Emotional and psychological scars can last a lifetime. A broken arm tends to heal but sometimes the mind can’t.”
Times have changed and it is high time authorities who matter address the problem of cyber-bullying as a matter of grave concern for people living in the cyber-age. While I have focussed on the problem as it exists in the educational sector, it does not mean that other sectors are not affected in any way.The need of the hour is for Governments to set up help lines  such as the one given in the article, Cyber-bullying trolls target more WA adults: — If you are being bullied or stalk online and need help visit
The seriousness of the social scourge of cyber-bullying best presented the words, “New data obtained by The Sunday Times shows the Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network received 268 reports of cyber-bullying and online stalking in WA between November 2014 and June 2015.
28 PER CENT of victims were aged 19-28,
24 PER CENT were aged 30-39,
21 PER CENT were aged 40-49”. - Cyber-bullying trolls target more WA adults.
For further reference to the latest data and research on adults as victims of cyber-bullying, please visit:

No comments:

Post a Comment