The Internet has brought with it a plethora of problems that were previously unheard of when things like computer and social media did not exist. One such problem is 'cyberbullying', the act of bullying individuals online. It is essentially the same as bullying outside of social media, except perhaps the threat to physical safety. But unlike the classical schoolyard bully, a cyber bully has an added advantage - anonymity.
According to data compiled by Ipsos International, who surveyed adults in 28 countries under a survey called the 'Global Advisor Study' in June this year to find out about the incidence of cyberbullying, a majority of parents reported that their children were victims of online bullying at some point in their lives or the other. And topping the list of countries with the most number of reported cases of cyber-bullying is none other than India.
An analysis of the data showed that in that in the last two years, more and more children and teenagers were bullied online. While 32 percent of parents had reported that their children had faced cyber-bullying in 2016, the statistic rose to 37 percent in 2018.
The data, which culminated after 20,793 interviews across 28 countries were conducted between March 23 – April 6, 2018. Interestingly, countries like Japan and Russia reported the lowest levels of cyberbullying. However, analysis of the data suggests that there is a globally upward trend toward greater awareness and recognition of cyber-bullying, with more and more parents in countries such as the US accepting that they or their teenagers are or have been cyber-bullied.
This rise can be attributed to various factors. The anonymity of the offender is one of the biggest advantages of cyber-bullying. One can go on victimising someone without having to own up for their acts or being held accountable. Another important factor that drives cyberbullying is the need for attention. Much like regular bullies, cyber bullies also thrive on attention and mostly do what they do out of deep-seated insecurities that often need an audience.
However, the Ipsos data also showed that there has been a global increase in awareness of cyberbullying. Even in India, 56 percent of the respondents to the survey indicated that they were aware of what cyber bullying was, an increase from 53 percent of 2011.