Cyber harassment, also known as online harassment, is a growing problem that affects people of all ages and backgrounds. It refers to any unwanted or hostile behaviour directed at an individual through electronic means, such as social media, email, text message, or other online platforms. This type of harassment can take many forms, including verbal and non verbal abuse, stalking, and threats of violence. It can also include the sharing of personal information or images without consent – called doxxing, and online impersonation. Cyber harassment can take place in any online setting, such as social media, online gaming, or dating sites.
Common forms of cyber harassment
Some common forms of cyber harassment include:
- Verbal abuse and bullying through social media, email, or text message
- Stalking through social media or email
- Threats of violence or harm
- Doxxing, or the sharing of personal information or images without consent
- Online impersonation, including the creation of fake accounts or profiles
- Harassment through online gaming or dating sites
- Harassment or threats through anonymous or encrypted apps
The impact of cyber harassment
Cyber harassment can have serious and long-lasting effects on its victims, including emotional distress, depression, and anxiety. It can also lead to physical symptoms such as headaches and sleep disturbances. In extreme cases, it can even lead to self-harm or suicide. Cyber harassment can also make it difficult for the victim to use technology and social media, which can have significant impacts on social connections, and job opportunities.
Steps to take to stop cyber harassment
If you are experiencing cyber harassment, it’s important to take action to stop it and protect yourself. Some steps you can take include:
- Block or unfriend the harasser on social media
- Use privacy settings to limit who can see your information and posts
- Report the harassment to the platform or service where it is taking place
- Save any harassing messages or posts as evidence
- Consider getting a restraining order if the harassment escalates or becomes threatening
- Reach out for support from friends, family, or a therapist.
- Seek legal advice in cases where there is a clear violation of your rights, such as libel, defamation, or violation of privacy
It’s important to be aware of cyber harassment and to support friends or family members who may be experiencing it. Encourage them to act and offer to help them navigate the process.
Cyber harassment is a serious issue that affects people of all ages and backgrounds. It can have serious and long-lasting effects on its victims, including emotional distress, depression, and anxiety. If you or someone you know is experiencing cyber harassment, it’s important to take action to stop it and protect yourself. By taking steps to address cyber harassment, we can create a safer and more respectful online community for everyone.