“Hey! Today there was a workshop on cyber bullying and security in school. You missed such an insightful session” - Shalini informed Roma in the evening while they were playing on the ground.
“Cyber bullying! What is it exactly?” asked Roma
“You don’t know what’s cyber bullying? Oh C’mon! You remain active 24*7 on social networking sites, Facebook, twitter and what not, and you are asking me what is cyber bullying! Well, Cyber bullying is troubling someone, typically by sending threatening and intimidating messages via electronic medium i.e. Internet.” –Shalini
“Really! How will somebody threaten you on Facebook? People join Facebook to enhance their social life.”--Roma
“Let me just correct you it’s more of a Virtual* social life.”—Shalini
“What’s the difference?”—Roma
“Well Virtual social life is where you don’t meet the individual ‘in person’ to interact with him/her. Maintaining relationships, friendships on virtual social media is way easier than the actual world. Now don’t give me those ‘surprised looks’.” ---Shalini laughed aloud seeing Roma in a pensive mode.
“Coming back to your question that how can people be bullied on Facebook? Nowadays it has become a trend to share every minute detail about one’s personal life on Facebook and give an easy pathway to others to create havoc in their life. The majority of teenagers gets bullied on the internet and they don’t even realize it. Don’t look so puzzled Roma.” said Shalini
“Last year a family came to reside in the neighborhood. The girl was 15 years old and we became best of friends like real soon. She told me about her latest crush whom she found on Facebook. The guy was a total stranger to her; even then that girl accepted his friend request and soon started chatting with him for hours. Within a couple of months the boy proposed the girl to be his girlfriend. She already was ‘madly in love’ with him and without thinking twice she agreed to the proposal. During those long hours of chat she exchanged her personal information, family details etc. with him and never thought twice that it might get her in trouble someday.”
“Eventually lack of concentration and attention in studies and increased Facebook usage affected her academics. Her social life also was affected badly, for at home she preferred to lock herself in her room. She hardly interacted with her parents. Soon her parents got to know the real reason. They didn’t yell at her, but instead guided her to focus on studies. Keeping in mind her parents’ insight she controlled her Facebook usage and now she only logged in to Facebook once a day. The boy on the other hand got to know about the scenario and tried to brainwash her. He told her not to get affected by it at all because parents only ‘lecture’ their kids whenever possible. In spite of his consistent efforts she stopped using Facebook completely.”
“One day out of desperation the guy stalked her while she was coming back to home and splashed acid on her face and ran away.” concluded Shalini and left Roma speechless.
“While working on social networking sites especially Facebook one should always keep in mind a few tips to remain safe:
- One should NOT add RANDOM people on Facebook. Check if there is good number of MUTUAL FRIENDS? I mean if there are 7 to 10 mutual friends then check whether those mutual friends are actual/real friends or merely virtual friends.
- While chatting on Facebook one should NOT disclose personal details. If the person sitting on the other side of the screen is interested in knowing more about personal information then it’s a red flag to become alert.”
- Do not share any personal photos or videos on Facebook.
- Keep your profile secured by using friends only option in the PRIVACY setting option of who can see your profile.
- Do not share your location, check ins or other important details on social media.
- Do not share your passwords with any of your friends in any circumstances; for they may misuse it.
- Become vigilant while chatting with a person online. Try to understand the chatting pattern of the person. Many people make fake profiles and bully people.
- In case you are being troubled or bullied by someone then don’t be the victim or hide it. Share it with someone whom you trust (parents, teachers, counselors) so that necessary actions can be taken soon.”
Roma did not realize that Facebook can be an easy platform for cyber bullying to such an extent. She herself had shared a few photos of her on Facebook and never thought that they could be misused. She thanked Shalini for briefing her about it. The first thing she did after reaching home was changed her ‘privacy setting’ on Facebook profile and ‘unfriended’ the randomly added people.
And now she realized that Facebook is one such book which has to be read with caution….. !