Since the advent of the internet, life has become quite easy for us and most of the things we care for can be achieved in the comfort of our homes. You can now shop online, get updated news, connect with friends via different chatting platforms, banking, and even study online.

No doubt, technology has brought so much good to humanity. However, as it's always said, there is always one or two bad sides to everything. In terms of the internet, one of its downsides is Cyberbullying.

As more and more online social media platforms are springing up, the rate of cyberbullying is increasing. The truth is, cyberbullying is contagious. People are becoming cyberbullies because of the hate messages they see and read online.

Unfortunately, whether it is cyber, physical, social, or other types of bullying, it always has an effect on people's mental health and social skills.

Even though the Nigerian government has tried to curtail the use of negative comments on the internet, there is little they can do to make bullying stop. Therefore, if you want to avoid cyberbullies, you need to stop getting involved in situations that would lead to it. In all these, children must be protected so that they don't get affected by it.

Having said all this, today's article will focus on cyberbullying and how parents can help their children not to get involved in this contagious act.

Bullying in Nigeria
A student using his computer to source for information | Photo Credit: Lagos Techie on Unsplash
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What Is Cyberbullying?

It is so disheartening to know that cyberbullying has eaten deep into the hearts of Nigerian youths.

When you visit some popular online forums such as Nairaland, you would understand the effect of cyberbullying. It's either hating people because of their tribes or looking down on people because of their gender. All these unacceptable behavior has social and mental health effects on the victims.

Therefore, how do we define cyberbullying? In a simple term, it is an unacceptable act that involves the use of demeaning and aggressive words on people via electronic means. When we say electronic, we are referring to the internet.

Some people use the phrase "online bullying" instead of cyberbullying. Either way, they are referring to the same thing. This derogatory behavior is common in online forums and social media platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Whatsapp group, etc. Some people even send a direct text to their victims.

Nowadays, children and adults try to play down cyberbullying by giving comical names to it such as "trolling". A child now sees the whole thing as a way of entertaining himself/herself. The funny thing is that cyberbullying can last for years and could either come in the form of showing aggression by spreading photos or sending text messages.

Children and adolescents are prone to the effect of cyberbullying, and with the prevalence of this online aggression, now is the time for parents to help their children.

In the next subheading, we shall be going deep into the consequences of cyberbullying by looking at some facts about this menace.

Read on how to deal with bullying in Nigerian schools.

Some Facts You Need To Know About Cyberbullying

The prevalence of physical and other types of bullying in Nigerian schools has led scientists to discover some facts about it. However, since cyberbullying has just started gaining momentum, the government, parents, teachers, and other investigators are trying to gather some statistics about cyberbullying.

With the way things are going, it is clear that children and adolescents would be more prone to cyberbullying. The worse thing is that bullying can stick with a child up to his/her adulthood. This would affect the mental health as well as the social behavior of the child.

To give you some facts about cyberbullying, we have been able to make research on Google and other publications. This is based on cyberbullying in schools and homes in Nigeria.

  • One common trend in Nigeria is trying to get the naked picture of a person and trying to blackmail the person. It is either the blackmailer gets paid or he/she goes ahead to carry out the heinous act.
  • There is a serious battle of supremacy on which tribe is the best in Nigeria. In doing this, some tribes try to use derogatory words on other tribes.
  • Sexual bullying is another common one in the country. Some Nigerian males on online forums or social media try to look down on women by calling them "sexual tools".
  • Adolescents are more prone to the effects of cyberbullying

Cyberbullying is completely unacceptable and it needs to stop before it causes more harm to our society. Whether it is gender-based, emotional, physical, verbal, or other types of bullying, it has mental health effects on its victims.

Having looked at the negative effects these bullies leave on their victims, we need to look at ways students or people can avoid being bullied online.

Nigerian Bullying
Restricting your children from harmful social media content | Photo Credit: FLY:D on Unsplash

How Students Or Anyone Can Stay Safe From Cyberbullying

Virtually everybody in the world uses the internet every day - search for things on Google, use online social media websites, or even order stuff online. However, with the prevalence of cyberbullying, most people struggle to use the internet joyfully because of the bullies around.

Nevertheless, there are ways students or anyone can protect themselves from the hands of these online bullies. Below are some steps to take to handle cyberbullies:

  • Never Reply to the Bully: Try as much as possible to ignore the text message or threatening videos sent to you by a bully. Perpetration of violence or aggression only thrives when you react to the evil act. No doubt, it is not easy to completely ignore a bully, doing it would make him/her feel worthless.
  • Save the Threatening Text Message, Photos, or Videos: It is very common to see a Nigerian bullying other people online. When you are being bullied, the first thing that comes to your mind is to delete the text or videos to erase the bullying from your mind. Instead of deleting it, you can save it for the future to share with a trusted person like parents, teachers, or older siblings. They will guide you on the best thing to do.
  • Report the Issue to the Website: Most forums or online social media websites have admins that handle such cases. If you are being bullied, try to get a piece of evidence and report the issue to the website. Every website wants its members to have a healthy relationship and wouldn't condone any perpetration of violence or aggression. Hence, they are ready to restrict access to any bully who goes against the laws.
  • Block the Bully: This is another good way to save yourself from the harassment and intimidation of a bully. Ignoring a bully may not stop him/her from continuing with the aggression or violence. There are serial bullies who never get tired of causing pain to people. In the case that a bully is not stopping his/her evil act, blocking the person would be the best thing to do. Doing this will give you peace of mind.

These tips will help students going through bullying. Instead of relying on depression or anxiety as the best thing to do when being bullied, see it as something that has come to stay and react to it pro-actively.

Whether it is bullying in secondary school, primary school bullying, cyberbullying, or any form of it, it has a way of sapping the victim's energy. Therefore, as a victim, you must act wisely to save your energies for other useful activities.

Read on guide on how to identify and deal with bullies. 

Cyberbullying in Nigeria
A description of hate messages from cyberbullies | Photo Credit: Markus Winkler from Pexels

Helpful Tips Parents Can Use To Curtail Cyberbullying

As parents, you should be aware of the prevalence of the victimization of children by cyber bullies. If you found out your child is a victim of cyberbullying, there are some factors to put in place to help your child or children shrug off the victimization effects of bullying.

It is no longer news that parents in Nigeria are becoming helpless when it comes to cyberbullying or bullying in schools. Apart from teaching your child some comebacks for bullies, there are some factors to consider to deal with online or internet bullies.

The tips below will help parents in equipping their children with the right tools to handle cyberbullying:

  • Limit your Children's Use of the Internet: Cyberbullying occurs online and there are some certain online social media websites that have a high rate of bullying. As parents, you should be able to restrict your children from visiting some of these websites. A study shows that cyberbullying has long-lasting effects on kids.
  • Don't be Shy to Discuss Bullying: Most parents think it is not necessary to talk about bullying with their children. This is not good! Let your child know about bullying in Nigerian schools, cyberbullying, etc. This way, they will be free to talk about it with you whenever they are being bullied.
  • Always observe your Child for any Change in Behavior: As a parent, you should understand your child quite well and should know when something is not right with your kid. Some of the symptoms of being a victim of bullying are isolation, depression, and not talking to people. When you notice any of these changes, take time to talk to your child about what the problem is. Children easily feel hurt and it is the duty of parents to study and observe their kids' behavior.
  • Use Google to Find Other Useful and Trusted Resources: If you are still not satisfied with the tips given, you can go online by using Google to find other trusted resources on how to minimize the effect of bullying on students.

Cyberbullying is never a good thing! It affects both males and females, children and adults. As parents, helping your child to deal with this menace would be one of the greatest inputs you'd have on your child's life. 

Using the information in this article will help you curtail the effects of bullying via electronic media.

 

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Justin

A seasoned writer with a knack for various niches. As a physics graduate, I enjoy carrying out detailed research on a particular topic before drafting up an eye-catching and engaging article.