Cyberbullying is a serious problem in South Africa. Cyberbullying has been found to be especially prevalent across younger generations, however, adults experience it too. Cyberbullying can have detrimental effects on a person’s mental and emotional wellbeing.
What is cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is similar to bullying that occurs on school playgrounds and in social settings. Cyberbullying, however, is carried out online, through the use of text messages, images, GIFs, memes, video clips, and more. Cyberbullying most frequently consists of the bully humiliating the victim, either privately or publicly. Most of the time, the people that undertake cyberbullying will try to remain anonymous or will disguise who they really are.
How to tell if your child is a victim of cyberbullying
Unfortunately, children are often the most likely victims of cyberbullying, and many parents are often left unaware. Most of the time, children are often too embarrassed to let their parents know that they are being bullied.
Your child may not tell you that they are being cyberbullied. It’s important for you to look out for any possible warning signs. Your child may be a victim of cyberbullying if they:
- Become emotionally upset during or after using the Internet or their phone.
- Appear nervous when receiving a message or social media notification.
- Become unwilling to share information about their online activity.
- Lock their phone or tablet screen every time you walk by.
- Withdraw from friends and family in real life.
- Experience unexplained weight loss or weight gain, headaches, stomach aches, or have trouble eating.
- Lose interest in their favourite hobbies or activities.
Is cyberbullying bad in South Africa?
Cyberbullying is a massive problem among children in South Africa. According to a recent survey, 51% of children in South Africa have been cyberbullied. These statistics are terrifying. Cyberbullying can have serious consequences on a child’s mental and emotional wellbeing.
Is there any recourse for victims of cyberbullying?
In May 2021, the Cybercrimes Act 19 of 2020 was finalised. This is a major milestone in terms of South African cybersecurity law as it brings them in line with international standards. The Cybercrimes Act criminalises various cybercrimes associated with cyberbullying including:
- The distribution of electronic messages or social media posts towards a person that incite, or threaten that person with, violence or damage to his/her property.
- The disclosure of intimate images of an identifiable person without his/her consent.
Unfortunately, the cost of addressing cyberbullying can be huge, especially when considering how expensive legal consultation fees are. Cyber Rescue from Bidvest Insurance provides legal advice and mediation if you become a victim of cyberbullying. Get Cyber Rescue from Bidvest Insurance today.