Communication for Development, cyberbully, Social Media

Social Awareness initiatives and the stand against cyber bullying

By: Shanoy Coombs

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Not too long ago, rumormongers in an effort to hurl nasty words would get the gears going by telling one, two then a few persons salacious and sometimes downright degrading things about others. This would often start within communities and may then extend beyond.  Yet still, there were some limitations.  Then came the internet and with all the positives that access and reach have provided, so too have the overwhelming negatives. From email lists, Social Media portals, accusatory websites and then some, the internet has been heavily utilized for cyber-bullying and global rumor-mongering.

And never for a moment assume you are out of harm’s reach. Alarmingly, one research estimates that as much as 40% of adults have experienced cyber bullying. Further a local security adviser noted:

“One of the major challenges with cyber bullying is tracing the source.  Frankly, most persons who have made reports around same are usually shocked when pressed for more information as they are genuinely unable to identify a source or a motive. In fact, we have seen several cases where people are bullied over seemingly simple issues and by persons as close or as far as an envious ex partner, a jealous co-worker, a business partner or even a malicious complete stranger who only has access to another person’s life via glimpses on social Media”.

True to form, globally and in the local space, there has been an increasing number of artistes, athletes, business persons, persons who have started to build a  reach and generally just about anyone  have been subjected to some form of cyber-bullying. Just actually talk to a few persons and you’d be amazed at how many within your space have been affected in this way.  These cyber bully postings have ranged from being extortion like in nature to being more on the libelous, malicious and defamatory side. One has to only look at the comments sections of posts online to see some of the overwhelming and cringe worthy examples.

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