How Do Kids Become Cyber Bullies?

Cyber bullying

Can you believe that cyber bullying is more common than face-to-face bullying? If you know how your kid became a cyber-bully, then maybe you can handle him more tactfully and more effectively.

In fact, you might be surprised to know that –

  • 10% to 20% of children are cyber bullies
  • Many children are unaware that there can be legal implications of cyber bullying. In some countries, it may lead to a criminal record, in spite of being underage!
  • Students who spend more than 3 hours every day on social networking sites are more likely to turn into cyber bullies at some point than students who spend less than 3 hours online.
  • Many children begin as innocent teasers online, which unchecked and unopposed, escalates to more aggressive behaviour. Before they realise it, they have become mean online offenders.

Misconceptions about Online Bullies

It is a common misconception that cyber bullies –

  • Are troublemakers
  • Behave rudely and
  • Are poor performers at school.

But that is not always the case. Many of the offenders–

  • Are model students
  • Enjoy a healthy social life
  • Can even be teacher’s pets and
  • Are well-adjusted at home

Why Do Children Become Cyber Bullies?

So why do such well-behaved children become so mean… why do they do it, in the first place?

  • The most common reason for becoming a cyber-bully is that they themselves have been victimised online and use this defence mechanism to feel more powerful
  • They may even be inspired by their bullying friends and join hands with them to victimise other people. They realise it is more fun being to be on the offending side – since they couldn’t beat them, they literally join them!
  • Or maybe they are mildly offended by the victim, for example, the victim may have been rude to the offender, or could not help the offender with his/her schoolwork. These little things are enough to trigger of an intense reaction.
  • Sometimes, the offenders are extremely jealous of their victims. For example, a friend or a classmate has won the first prize which the offender really coveted. Or maybe something trivial like the offender’s parents and teachers praised the friend and not him. Or perhaps the other person is pampered by their parents and seems to lead a perfect life, according to the offender. Victimising such a person online gives some sort of sadistic pleasure to the offender.
  • Another major reason for online aggression is peer pressure. It is considered to be a very ‘cool’ thing. So in order to improve one’s peer status, one may resort to online aggression.
  • The simplest reason for being rude online is something which every child faces – it is boredom. As they say, an empty mind is indeed a devil’s playground. Children who are naturally restless always seek new forms of distraction and entertainment. Cyber bullying then becomes a new medium of amusement.
  • The most important reason is the ease with which a child can become a cyber-bully. He or she is hidden behind a screen of anonymity. Online anonymity is one of the most important reasons why children, who would otherwise not have the guts to do face to face bullying, resort to its digital version.

Sadly enough, this is the same reason why many lines are crossed virtually – which one could never imagine crossing in real life.

Take Care 🙂

PS: Visit www.wisenetizen.com  and use free resources for educating your child about #cybersafety.

PS: Visit www.wisenetizen.com  and use free resources for educating your child about #cybersafety.

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