Cyber Bulling, Internet Predators And Personal Security Risks Of Social Networking Site
Social networking sites are websites that provide a virtual community for people of the same tastes, and interests. Interested persons create their profiles in these websites and begin to connect to friends, family or interact with new friends via online activities such as, email, chat photos, events and status updates. Example of social networking cites include; facebook, myspace, myyearbook, twitter, youtube webkinz and club penguin just to mention but a few.
Social networking sites form real grounds for making friend and sharing important information with family and friends. However, they have become channels through which social crimes are perpetrated like cyberbullying, online predation and privacy invasion or personal security risks. Both kids and adults are at risk of embarrassment by providing much information on their profiles pages on social sites for the whole world to see. Increase of social networking sites is not the root cause of social crimes like cyberbulling, internet predation and privacy invasion; they have only increased the volume of content or increased susceptibility to the problems.
For better understanding of social networking problems, I shall tackle each problem separately. Namely;
Private life invasion/ personal security risks
Cyberbullying can be defined as the use of internet to send or post text, video, or image to hurt or embarrass another person intentionally. With the advent of the internet and subsequent advancement of technological tools like notebooks, tablets and mobile phones, cyberbullying has evolved to a very challenging issue in our lives now more than ever before (Smith, 2009). This includes such sites like face book, tweeter, LinkedIn, myspace just to mention but a few. Cyber bullying mostly occurs in chat rooms, blogs, emails, texting and more commonly social networking sites. There are several types of cyberbullying that are practiced nowadays. They include;
Harassment: it involves repeated behavior of sending nasty, mean and insulting messages.
Flaming: this is a kind of online fight that is characterized by instant messages or email with vulgar or angry language.
Denigration: this bullying involves “dissing” someone online by posting gossips or rumors about the person with the intention of damaging the reputation of the person.
Impersonation: this kind of bullying involves someone pretending to be someone else and sending or posting materials online with the intention of damaging ones reputation or friendship.
Pranking; this involves tricking an individual to provide embarrassing information or secretes and then sharing it online.
43% of teens (4of 10) provide information that they have experienced some form of cyberbullying last year.
the report released on Feb., 11, 2010, by David Abel, Globe staff entitled “Newburyport teens charged in cyberbullying case” reveals that three 14 years old boys from Newburyport were charged with the identity after they allegedly harassed a boy at high school by creating a false facebook page having the boys name and picture and then posted disparaging remarks on the page about the student. The police report indicated that the boys accused of bullying were judged at Newburyport district court. Lieutenant Mark Murray of the Newburyport police department retaliated that bullying has been rampart in the state and they will take the case seriously so as to send a message to the whole state. Murray said that the harassment will not be tolerated since the prince of phoebe, 15, had committed suicide by hanging herself after being bullied by a group of girls who taunted her with a series of hurting messages on facebook. The boy who did not have a facebook page was questioned by many students about the posts on the facebook page and other attacked him physically by tripping him.
Visual script for Cyber bullying statistics
The following statistics were adapted from youth research compiled at cyberbullying.us
The approximate number of youths who have been victimized by cyber bullying is about 33%
56% of the primary cyber bullying location was in they chat room
49% of the victims in the chat room were victimized via instant messages while 28% via e-mail
The statistics reveal that about 34 % of the bullied youth feel frustrated, 22% feel sad and 30% feel angry. Of the total percentages bullied women feel angrier than men.
About 41 % of the victims remain quit of the abuse while about 38% tell at least an online friend of the abuse.
Of the interview guys 17 % admitted to have bullied an individual online. The interviewees revealed that they considered it fun or instructive to bully their victims so as to strengthen them.
More than 50% of the participants interviewed felt that cyber bullying is bad and is just like or more badly than bullying that occurs in real life situations (youth research compiled at cyberbullying.us).
42% of the kids interviewed revealed that they have been bullied online and ¼ of them indicated that the bullying occurred more than once
Cyberbullying is on the rise in the recent years as the national survey of 10-17 years old c indicated that more than half of the online children have been victims or perpetrators of bullying.
Internet provides a very good platform for online predators since they can easily hide their identity and get access to the target victims. An online predator can be defined as a criminal who targets teens with the aim of manipulating them to meeting for sex. Online predators masquerade to be building genuine friendship with victims through lying, blackmailing, and guilt. Additionally, they attempt to engage in intimate communication and eventual in-person meeting. Online predators also use information on the profile page of the social site to try and locate the victim in person and engage them in a relationship. This is the reason why it is critical for one to evaluate the information to be included in the profile page to avoid predation. Predators “groom” to attract the victims into their trap. The national centre for missing and exploited children conducted research study on crime against children in 2006 and found the following about youth internet users for a period of five years.
Visual script for online predation
The rate of youth encountering unwanted sexual exposure to sexual materials increased from25% to 34%.
There was an increasing rate of 6% to 9% of cases of online harassment
There was a decrease from 19%- 13% in the number of those youths receiving unwanted solicitation for sex. This is attributed to proper measures taken against online predation.
Forty percent (40%) of youth who use internet revealed that online sex solicitors asked for nude or sexually explicit photographs from them.
Thirty one percent (31%) of the solicitors were very aggressive and they attempted offline contact with the youth.
The above bargraph shows lifetime cyberburrying victimization rates from 2010-2004.
2004 registered the highest rate od cyberbullying while 2007 recorded the smallest rate of about 18%.
The information above shows that of the 4441 sample students who were interviewed they revealed in a period of 30 days that they at least suffered one aspect of bullying with 20% admitting that they have been cyber bulled in their lifetime and cyber bulled others in their lifetime. During the 30 day research, posting hurtful messages and spreading of rumors were the most commonly reported type of cyberbullying.
From the above bar graph More ladies experienced more cyberburrying in their lifetime than male counterparts; 28% females against 16% of males. Ladies are also easy to report cyberbullying incidences than men. Lastly ladies are likely to spread rumors online while men post hurtful posts while they bully their victims.
Personal security risks caused by use of social networking site
Invasion on private life or personal security risks is one problem that social sites pose to internet users. If personal information, password to social sites pages and photos posted online are not carefully they can be used by other malicious intruders to jeopardize the reputation of individuals or invade personal securities of individuals. Care must be taken so that information given online is limited to an extent of avoiding private life invasion by intruders or unnecessary persons. Malicious impersonation occurs when some people pretend to be the ones you really know but they are not the ones. Such people pretend to be your friend and befriend your children online leading to unfortunate consequences.
Cyber bulling, internet predators and personal security risks caused by use of social networking site is real and is on the increase as seen from above. The advent of social networking sites only accelerated the problems associated with internet crimes. The best way to curb or stop cyberbullying, online predation and personal security risk is by educating internet users to be careful about the information they reveal about them online. Kids must be informed and guided by their parents not to give private information online because once they do so they risk themselves against burring and predation or invasion of their personal lives by intruders. Asking people to stop using social sites as a way to avoid cyberbullying, online predation and private live invasion is not the best way of dealing with the crimes or prosecuting the perpetrators of the crime still, is not the best way to deal with it rather everybody should be informed that the any personal/ private information provided online is never safe at all and is prone to online intrusion. However, perpetrators of cyberburrying or those people responsible for spreading rumors about other people or impersonating other people who do not have pages on social sites should be prosecuted and punished for causing harm to innocent victims.
More research should be done on cyberbullying so that strong measures can be developed to curb these crimes which are on the increase in the recent years. Most importantly the parents should be alert and informed about the social sites their children are operating so that they can easily monitor any kind of bullying or abuse resulting from the sites. They should encourage their kid stop report to them or seek for advise incase they encounter problems online. This will serve as the sets strategy to avoid may negative consequences of cyberbullying and other online crimes committed to kids.
Scripted audience questions
Why is cyberburrying on the increase in the recent times?
Answer: It is emergent this days because of the increase of many social sites and technological advancement. People can use laptops, mobile phones notebooks, desktops and may other technological gadgets which support internet to perpetrate cyberbullying (Smith, 2009).
What are the effects of cyberbullying, online predation and private live invasion online?
Answer: The effects that cyberbullying can have on an individuals greatly differs from one person to another. This is dependent on a number of factors like age, experience, knowledge, emotional maturity among many other variables. The most common emotional effects that have been reported to have occurred to individuals include depression, anger, sadness and frustration. It is important to note here that the effect that cyberbullying can have on one individual, is not the same effect it can have on another. This is because we all perceive what happens around us very differently .Further, cyberbullying and online predation can cause physical effects such as self harm or suicide committal (Smith, 2009).
(iii) What best measures should be taken to stop or reduce the effects of cyberbyllying, online predation and personal live intrusion online or personal life security risks?
Answer: Parents should ensure that their children are informed of the cyber safety tips to be able to notice predators and bullying messages or e-mails. Cyberbullying prevention techniques/ campaigns must be emphasized to sensitize all the people about the vice and provide them with necessary tips of avoiding the vice from spreading even more (www.ncpc.org/cyberbullying.).
(iv) Are social networking sites key contributors to cyberbullying, online predation and personal security risks?
Answer: It is evident that the advent of social networking sites provides a much more environment for cyberbullying, and online predation. However, cyberbullying has been existent since the emergence of internet. Social networking sites contribute about 58% of the overall cyberbullying and online predation ( HYPERLINK “http://www.cyberbully411.com/” www.cyberbully411.com/).
HYPERLINK “http://safety.lovetoknow.com/Cyber_Bullying_Statistics” http://safety.lovetoknow.com/Cyber_Bullying_Statistics
HYPERLINK “http://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/11-facts-about-cyber-bullying” http://www.dosomething.org/tipsandtools/11-facts-about-cyber-bullying
United States Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2008. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention. Prevalence of Individual Adverse Childhood Experiences, 1995-1997.
United States Department of justice. National Institute of Justice. Youth Victimization: Prevalence and Implications, 2003.
Wolak, Michell and Finkelhor. Online Victimization of Youth: Five Years Later. Alexandria, VA, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. 2006.
HYPERLINK “http://www.cyberbully411.com/” www.cyberbully411.com/
HYPERLINK “http://www.ncpc.org/cyberbullying” www.ncpc.org/cyberbullying.