Cyberbullying appears to be on the rise worldwide especially with the popularity of social media among the youth.
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Cyberbullying can be simply defined as the attack on a person’s personality via social media.
The research material considered by YEN.com.gh on Emerald Insight for the purpose of this feature further defines cyberbullying as “willful and repeated harm inflicted through the medium of electronic text”. The material added that targets are often faced with a barrage of degrading, threatening, and/or sexually explicit messages and images conveyed using web sites, instant messaging, blogs, chat rooms, cell phones, web sites, e‐mail, and personal online profiles.
“This is common because oftentimes, the perpetrators are not caught no matter how hard-hitting their attack may be. Some also feel they have the right to pass any comment they want so far as they own the electronic device and internet,” noted Edward Anang, one person YEN.com.gh spoke with in a survey.
Victims of cyberbullying are faced with depression and feeling of being unwanted. Some experience high levels of anger, loss of strength, and sadness, just to mention a few. They feel so hurt that they wish they could either retaliate – which a few manage to do, others decide to hide themselves from social media, while some also become bitter and take revenge.
Recently, there was such a case in Ghana where actress and television personality, Selly Gally, rained curses on a female social media user who called her barren and ugly.
Selly had shared a photo with no makeup on her Instagram page only for the lady identified as Henewaa Piesie to comment: “Barren and ugly woman”.
The actress fought back invoking curses on her, saying that she will be barren together with her generations, adding that nothing she ever touches would ever work for her. The uproar this whole incident generated on social media cannot be overemphasised.
Selly is just one of the few victims, who, in their hurtful moments, would pull some strength to retaliate for that attack.
Other victims would just keep quiet and suffer in silence. Let’s take, for instance, the case of a lady by the name Sandra Ampofo.
Sandra got some before and after makeup photos, she took leaked on social media. She was heavily trolled globally, especially after American superstar, Snoopdogg, shared the photos on his Instagram to troll her.
The photos trended like wildfire. She told how devastating that experience was, so much so that she thought killing herself was the only solution she had. Fortunately, Sandra got the help of a psychologist who helped her over the trauma she suffered.
Commenting on that unfortunate happening, one social media user by the name Oheneba Anning decried the attack on Sandra whom she described as “an articulate and intelligent woman”. To him, social media has just given “any rat an opportunity” to be disrespectful for “absolutely no reason”:
oheneba_anning: “Such an articulate and intelligent woman. People who can't even write their names trolled her. Social media just gives any rat an opportunity to be disrespectful for absolutely no reason.”
We can also tackle the case of Ghana’s most popular and famous actress, Nana Ama McBrown. Before she gave birth to her daughter Baby Maxin, McBrown had to stomach all sorts of unsavory comments and name callings on social media.
The effect? McBrown revealed that she had to hide herself in her room and cry for years. It must be noted that it took her approximately five years to deliver after getting married. The trolls made her lose confidence in herself as a woman and left her feeling unworthy and rejected. Thanks to her husband and other family members she has often thanked for being her support.
This situation has pushed McBrown to swear that any teacher that beat her child would make her close down the school, explaining further that: “I alone know what I went through before getting my daughter”.
The research material cited earlier in this article sought to address the prevalence of cyberbullying among the youth. And it provided some ways that this canker can be tackled. First, it says the schools are in a unique position to both educate and, when necessary, take corrective action. It is therefore suggested that school leaders consider indulging students, parents, caretakers, on the dangers of cyberbullying.
Edward Anang, cited earlier believes that having fellow-feeling, compassion, and love might have people stop cyberbullying. He added: “There is a golden rule found at Matthew 7:12 which simply says that what you do not want done to you, don’t do to another person.”
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