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10 types of cyber bullying every parent should know about

Ladies, cyber bullying in South Africa has escalated to a point where one in five teenagers have been victimised, according to a global survey by Vodafone. In many cases, decisive legal action must be taken to stop the abuse and bring the perpetrators to justice. Unfortunately legal intervention can be extremely expensive, with lawyers charging around R1 500 an hour for consultations alone. To address both the emotional and financial implications of cyber bullying, we launched Cyber Insurance, which includes cyber bullying cover among other benefits.  It’s like having a Guardian Angel online.

In addition, we’re empowering parents to better understand and address the issue of cyber bullying, and its effect on their children, through a series of blogs. We’ve taken a look at the definition of cyberbullying and now delve deeper into how the problem manifests.

10 types of cyber bullying

 1. Harassment

Harassment is an ongoing, consistent and intentional form of cyber bullying, which involves the cyber bully sending abusive, threatening and malicious messages to your child or a group of children. Cyber stalking is an extremely dangerous form of harassment that can lead to physical harassment in the real world.

Similar to harassment is flaming. This involves posting insults on social media, which are often filled with offensive language and profanity. Insults may turn into ‘flame wars’ where two or more people join forces and verbally attack the victim.

 2. Exclusion

Exclusion is the act of deliberately leaving a child out. This can occur in various ways, on and offline, including:

  • Exclusion from online groups like chats and social sites.
  • Exclusion from mentions in online conversations – for example tagging other friends and deliberately excluding your child.
  • Exclusion from friends’ parties or activities.
  • Exclusion from conversations because he/she isn’t on social media or doesn’t have a smartphone.
  • It also often involves leaving malicious comments on a child’s social media pages.

3. Fraping

This is an act aimed at ruining your child’s reputation through impersonating them online. The cyber bully will gain access to your child’s social media login details, log in to their accounts, and post defamatory and inappropriate content on their social pages.

4. Masquerading

This is when a cyber bully creates a false identity with the intention of anonymously harassing someone online. He/she may also pose as someone else and send malicious messages to his/her victim. 

5. Catfishing

Catfishing involves the creation and use of a fake online profile with the intent to lure people into a relationship, often romantic, through a process of deception. The cyber bully may or may not be someone the victim knows – either way their intention is to gain their victim’s trust and get them to share personal information, which they then share online in order to humiliate and embarrass that person. Teenagers are especially prone to catfishing as they may often ‘friend’ people even if they don’t know them, and tend to overshare their emotions and details of their lives online.

6. Outing

The aim of outing is to publicly humiliate your child by sharing private, sensitive or embarrassing content without their consent. Once the content has been spread around online, the victim has been ‘outed’.

7. Denigration or dissing

This is when the cyber bully sends or posts cruel comments about your child online with the aim of destroying their self-confidence, damaging their reputation and threatening their friendships.

8. Trickery

Trickster cyber bullies will falsely befriend your child to gain their trust, getting them to share embarrassing details and secrets, and then share this information online or send it to other people.

9. Sexting

This refers to the exchange of sexually explicit photos, videos or messages, usually via messaging apps on cell phones. Sexting is not only illegal but can have severe, far-reaching effects. If a cyber bully shares this content online, this could not only embarrass your child and ruin their reputation, it could impact their future e.g. their chance of getting a good job or meeting a partner.

10. Revenge porn

Revenge porn is the act of distributing or sharing sexually explicit photos or videos of a person without his/her consent, online. Revenge porn is typically shared by a past sexual partner who aims to publically humiliate the victim.

Knowing what cyber bullying is and how it manifests, will give you valuable insight into your child’s online reality, and prepare you for having important conversations with them about the issue. It is vital however that you are also well versed in the signs of cyber bullying and what you can do to stop cyber bullying from affecting your child, and addressing it if it does.

Preparation is as important as education when it comes to cyber bullying. In many cyber bullying cases, decisive legal action must be taken to stop the abuse and bring the perpetrators to justice. The emotional and financial implications of this process can be devastating.

That’s why when you take out Cyber Insurance, you enjoy cover for cyber bullying, which includes: unlimited legal advice and unlimited mediation as well as a R55 000 litigation benefit.

Find out more about all the benefits of Cyber Insurance here.

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