Cyberbullying is using any electronic means to intimidate, harass, or threaten a person online. The pandemic has caused kids to use the internet not only for their enjoyment but also for their education. This growing reliance on the internet by the youth is currently causing an ever increasing rise in cyberbullying.
There are also more methods to enact cyberbullying now such as through TikTok, Zoom, Instagram, and many other platforms. According to L1ght, an organization that tracks online harassment, there has been a 70% increase in cyberbullying within the past few months. There has also been a 40% increase in toxicity in online gaming, a 900% increase in hate speech on Twitter especially towards China and the Chinese people, and a 200% increase in traffic to hate speech. There has also been increased stress among the youth due to the uncertainty of the pandemic which leads to increased at-risk behaviors. Isolation has also increased due to lockdowns which has led to kids lashing out via cruel comments on the internet as a form of venting. With decreased observation by parental figures, it can cause youth to engage in cyberbullying especially due to boredom.
There is also the fact that support groups and guidance counselors are not available as they were before the pandemic which can make it harder for the youth to express themselves. Children now have higher levels of anxiety and depression as a result of cyberbullying. Signs to spot cyberbullying include the child not using the device as they did before or hiding their online activity when confronted by their parents.
However, there are solutions for concerned parents such as creating guidelines on using the internet, talking to their children about the insane world that they find themselves in as a form of solidarity, and urging connections both old and new in order to continue social interactions which will hopefully decrease cyberbullying. Parents can also monitor what their children are doing online by getting up to speed in the latest tech. It is also important for parents to be open with their children when it comes to internet access in the hopes of preventing future incidents. These solutions are essential in helping end cyberbullying, but they are only a part of the greater solution which reveals the adaptability of cyberbullying especially during a pandemic.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hi, my name is Frank Granda and I’m 17 years old from San Diego, California, USA. I am interested in reading, writing, and playing the piano.