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CyberBullying: Hate speech, and online-threat.

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By Lara Raji

Today I want to take out time to write about Cyberbullying. It is any form of bullying that happens online or using digital devices. It could be texting harmful and spiteful words, making a jest of someone because of their social status or appearance online.

Sometimes online bullying can start offline. It might be your next-door neighbour or someone from school or work.  This can happen anywhere ranging from WhatsApp, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, chat rooms, gaming sites, the list goes on and on.

An Infograph I stumbled upon sometime last week from Live My Digital shows that 69 percent of young people have been bullied. #LiveMyDigital are one of the guys doing the Lords work when it comes to empowering families to use social media safely and responsibly. It was created by the Girl’s Day School Trust in partnership with Digital Awareness UK.

Have you ever hurt someone’s feeling with your actions or words, made them feel depressed or humiliated?  Then you are guilty of being a bully.  I am not here to guilt-trip anyone, only to create more awareness about things we do without seeming to know the consequences of our actions.

The Internet is another planet on its own and whatever goes out there can never be retrieved because even many years down the line, it will still be visible to anyone interested. Online bullying can be very humiliating because, it takes place in front of a world wide audience.

It is amazing how we little we talk about these issues in my home country Nigeria. Even though, there are rampant cases of cyberbullying in the country; it is time to put in more efforts in creating awareness around digital safety. Measures should also put in place to protect victims of cyberbullying and reduce reoccurrence moving forward.

I’m wondering if we really don’t have issues like online bullying in this part of the world. One thing I’m certain about is that cyberbullying happens every now and then in this country but no one is talking about it but if I’m wrong then probably I should be corrected.

In tackling such issues, the society should endeavor to create an enabling atmosphere of support and credibility, to encourage victims of cyber-abuse to share their experiences, and discuss issues around dealing with cyber abuse. It is important to confront issues of cyber abuse, because it could lead depression, low self-esteem, anger and physical stress, if left to continue.

A few advice when bullied:

  • Talk to someone about it.
  • Don’t hesitate to block to block the person.
  • Get evidence of bullying
  • Turn on your privacy setting
  • Report the cyberbully.

Final words, just in case the bullying continues, the Act also outlaws cyber-stalking and cyber-bullying. Anyone convicted of these could receive a N2 million minimum fine and/or at least 1 year in prison. More severe offences could attract a penalty as high as a N25 million minimum fine and/or up to 10 years’ imprisonment, depending on the severity of the offense.

 

About Lara Raji:  

Lara Raji is a digital safety campaigner and a digital strategist; passionate about kids, and women harnessing digital platforms safely and reducing the rate of cyberabuse and online-shaming . Lara is presently working on an inclusive e-safety and security modules to be used in the Nigeria primary and secondary school curriculum.

Lara also has an online support group online called HerClue. HerClue is a support group to help women, and children who have been bullied/harassed/shamed online and abused?


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