One of the most common types of harassment nowadays is that related to the use of new technologies and social networks. In other words, it is a situation in which people are constantly monitored and persecuted using these technological resources.

Since today most of the daily activities depend on its use, bullies find here the ideal means to obtain personal information . Virtual bullying is also known by the term cyberbullying or cyberbullying. It is a social problem that is increasing because the use of exhibits with an internet connection makes it easier.

It began as a situation in which young people between the ages of 12 and 25 were involved, but currently this margin has increased. From the end of the decade of the 90s, it would begin to be considered that the internet would revolutionize the way in which we communicate.

With this also began the popularity of the different platforms that facilitated remote connection , later they would be known as social networks or applications. The parents and representatives of the children who began to use these networks understood that this was the new way of socializing, over time they were also used for more formal purposes such as academic or work.

It is difficult to conceive a normal rhythm of life without the participation of these technologies, applied to any area of ​​a person’s daily life . Therefore, we try to find solutions that allow us to continue using them; without this meaning violating personal safety . However, when negative situations such as harassment occur, it is necessary to implement measures that help to treat those affected psychologically.

What is cyberbullying or cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying is defined as a type of behavior constituted from actions such as persecution, surveillance, offense and humiliation . It is also known by the term from the English language called cyberbullying, it encompasses all harmful actions that can be carried out using tools or technological methodology.

This means that a person decides to start harassing a specific target, for this he mainly uses messages , photographs, videos or audios . They will try to humiliate and publicly expose the person they are trying to harm, it can be for any purpose that satisfies the harasser.

You can also resort to inventing or spreading rumors whose content is false, thus damaging the reputation of the victim publicly. They may also try to get other people to exclude bullies from social activities.

Similarly, virtual harassment consists of invading and causing conflicts on the social networks used by victims. They could try to hack or steal personal data by accessing applications and email. Where the harassed people participate and also their family or friends, in all these virtual sites the attacker will look for information that he can use against him.

What are their characteristics? 

Harassment situations have a number of features in common, aggression of the employability of various technologies of communication . But other aspects related to Intentions, repetitiveness and the imposition of power by the attacker also stand out. The general characteristics are described below:

  • The aggressor performs these acts with the intention of harming the victim.
  • The aggressor needs to reproduce these actions for a prolonged period of time , in this way he makes sure that their negative effects have the desired results.
  • The imposition of power is a fundamental part to achieve the defenselessness of the victim in the face of these attacks.
  • The aggressor remains in technological anonymity , any aggression carried out will be difficult to trace. In addition, this position of power allows him to spread a greater amount of content on the internet, with which the victim will not be able to easily limit his actions.
  • The absence of physical contact between the victim and her stalker is common. This creates in the attacker the impossibility of knowing the reaction generated, for which it promotes the use of both impulsive and disruptive behaviors.
  • It is usual for the stalker to choose his victim after they have interacted directly. That is, in most of these cases the attacker selects his target once he had the opportunity to meet him in a specific social situation . However, a smaller part of these cases are also carried out by strangers.
  • The anonymity allowed by social networks favors the aggressor. In this way, he feels more free to try to interact with his target, and could even achieve major changes in the victim’s personal life through various tactics such as rumors.
  • The attacks are impulsive and constant , 24 hours a day and every day of the year; attacks will be carried out in different spaces on the network. The purpose is to cause enough pressure to create stress and anxiety. It also shows that they are always watched.
  • The bully has no empathy , no consideration for the harm he is causing. Being completely distanced and absent from the social norms that guarantee a healthy coexistence. For this person it is more important to be able to threaten and humiliate.

How is it identified in different cases? 

Cyberbullying comes in different ways, that is, there is not just one typology. There are at least 8 different varieties , these subtypes have their own characteristics which are described below:

  • Cyberbullying is a type of repeated aggression that uses technological devices. In this way, content and platforms are accessed where people usually interact socially. The purpose is to focus on those that are used by the victim, thus undermining self-esteem and dignity; causing emotional stress and social rejection.
  • The Ciberbullying presents similarities with ciberacoso , however other features are added. It is maintained for a longer period of time and it is also not necessary to identify elements of a sexual nature . Those involved usually know each other and also have similar ages . It has a greater range of action, with which mobile telephony and other content dissemination platforms are also used; in addition to social networks.
  • The Grooming is based on the deliberate establishment of a relationship of emotional control , you can also include content such explicit or implicit sexual . Usually the people involved are adults, in few cases it has been possible to identify underage victims.
  • The Sexting is sending pornographic or erotic content via telephone networks. Individuals between the ages of 14 and 27 usually participate, adolescents are the ones who use it the most. It is a type of harassment where women are usually the ones who occupy the position of the victims, sexual behaviors increase in intensity as these communications are prolonged.
  • The Phishing is a fraud attempt , so the acquisition of confidential information is sought through fraudulent methods. The attackers will look for how to acquire passwords, data of bank accounts and of cards; as well as other personal data that may be used for the purpose of stealing money.
  • Gossip or gossip is about the spread of rumors , they can be true or false. Harassers take advantage of their anonymity to publish this content on any platform, the purpose is to damage the reputation of the victim.
  • Happy slapping is based on the recording of private content to later be used on social networks. It usually focuses on issues related to fights or conflicts that can attract public attention, then these videos, audios or photographs will be freely shared on the network.

How does it stop? 

It is not possible to claim that there is a single solution or a series of steps that will guarantee to stop the bullying. This is because each case is different, the circumstances and the people involved participate differently. In addition, the stalker can have different intentions, as well as the victim can be affected in different ways. In other words, it turns out to be a complex situation , and for this it is necessary to analyze the facts to apply a solution that can benefit not only the victim.

Taking into consideration the complexity of this type of harassment, it can be identified that there are several aspects in common in most of the registered cases. The steps that are commonly applied are described below, they allow to control and also guide those who try to mediate and stop the harasser . They are as follows:

  • It is always advisable to limit the information with free access published on any portal. Similarly, restrictions must be established that prevent unknown persons from accessing data and content for private use.
  • Eliminate or limit the harasser’s access to social networks, or technological resources used by the victim. Not only is it enough to eliminate the device used or to cut the internet service, it is about analyzing the research and data collected by the harasser over several months or years. By limiting your access to this content, the personal safety of the affected person is being safeguarded.
  • Victims must have evidence and witnesses who can attest to these facts. They should also save files such as images, videos or audios; where it is shown that they have been suffering from harassment. If there is evidence online the screenshots and save the links are some of the most necessary resources.
  • It is important to have the support of both family and friends , as well as authorities capable of dealing with this problem. It has been shown that when victims are supported by more people, they will be better able to handle the situation.
  • Reporting is very important, especially when the harasser has completely invaded the victim’s personal life. Then, it begins to be difficult to lead a normal life using these platforms or social networks, as is usual today. It takes on special relevance when it involves threats and damage to physical integrity, in these cases the complaint should be taken to police entities and other competent jurisdictions.
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Alexa Clark specializes in Cognitive Behavioral Therapy. She has experience in listening and welcoming in Individual Therapy and Couples Therapy. It meets demands such as generalized anxiety, professional, love and family conflicts, stress, depression, sexual dysfunction, grief, and adolescents from 15 years of age. Over the years, She felt the need to conduct the psychotherapy sessions with subtlety since She understands that the psychologist acts as a facilitator of self-understanding and self-acceptance, valuing each person's respect, uniqueness, and acceptance.

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