Sunday, April 12, 2015

It won't happen to me. Don't count on it.

By Abigail Clarke: Contributing Content Blogger

There is a new study released from Nottingham Trent University revealing peculiarity in how internet users look at the seriousness of cyberbullying. Young people are aware of the ongoing problem of cyberbullying, indeed yes, but the large majority perceive others being more at risk than themselves. Strange, isn't it? Interesting here that young women tend toward holding this view much more than do men. Even stranger to me. This is a perfect example isn't it of what is fueling the problem to begin with? Most people don’t realise the damage this activity causes others. Most, especially those of younger age, are preprogrammed to think they are invulnerable and that the problem will not affect them. How could this be that our young people aren't being schooled about the risks to themselves? That is a lacking in proper education and responsible advisement on internet etiquette.

This makes them either a great candidate to dish out cyberbullying or harassment without regard to other’s feelings, or the unsuspecting victim whose life is gutted because this sort of thing ‘just couldn’t happen to them’! This should be an indication that raising awareness of cyberbullying and the like, cannot end merely with showing people the statistics of what is going on, but needs to also address a more basic schooling of self-awareness. People generally have a keen misperception of how they are perceived by others and what impacts they have on those around them. To fully engage the problem and move closer to a solution, those of the younger generation especially must be educated on the psychology of realistic awareness of self. By being absorbed into the virtual world of social media as much as they are it is no wonder there is a growing separation between what is real and what is not. It is also true that girls tend to view the world in a more romantic sense which coincides with females more often falling victim to cyber-attacks, and to be fair, the reason there are a larger number of female perpetrators of cyber harassment per se. This very important research is screaming the demon loud and clear that there is more than meets the eye in this very human problem. Think about it parents and educators. If we're not teaching young people in a way that sticks that it can happen to them how can they be expected to understand what happens to others?