Parental control is crucial to face cyberbullying among teenagers, which has increased rapidly during the pandemic, according to experts.
Cyberbullying takes many forms including offensive commenting and mockery. This issue must be taken seriously, as it can have significant consequences on the victim such as depression and, at an advanced stage, suicide, the experts told The Jordan Times.
The pandemic increased the use of social media, which corresponded to an increase in cyberbullying, they said.
Conventional bullying has always been a problem. Cyberbullying, on the other hand, has become an issue in Jordan in the past 10 years, Mohammad Abu Halimeh, a psychiatrist and addiction therapist, told The Jordan Times.
“Everyone is at risk, even I have suffered from cyberbullying as a psychiatrist, and there are countless ways to do it,” he said.
Bullying is a mental and psychological issue that calls for treatment. Bullying can be the response to an incident or an effect that have impacted the bully at an earlier age. For instance, many bullies have been bullied at a young age, some of them have grown up in unhealthy family environments or have their parents divorced, and in some cases they were sexually abused before resorting to bullying to vent negative emotions, according to Abu Halimeh.
“Victims of bullying may develop depression, suicidal thoughts or become bullies themselves. Some people, however, don’t get affected easily, it all depends on their personality and their level of sensitivity. A particular aspect of cyberbullying is that it is more visible and readily available virtually for everyone and everywhere,“ he said.
“I believe the Cyber Crime Unit, must take quick action regarding this matter. They also must develop a mechanism for treatment of bullies,” he added.
Sociologist Hussein Khuzai told The Jordan Times about “an erroneous understanding” of freedom that some users of social media have.
Khuzai highlighted the importance for social media users to understand the correct concepts of responsible and organised freedom.
He went further to make a connection between the increase in bullying from distance learners and the hard social and economic situations resulting from the pandemic.
Maria, a private school teacher from Amman, has a contrasting point of view. “Kids will always be kids, they tease each other in the classroom and they do the same during online classes too,” she said.
“Bullying has not increased or decreased, it just moved from school playgrounds to online platforms,” she noted.
However, Wasan, a mother of a teenager who has suffered from cyberbullying, told The Jordan Times that that her child was emotionally abused throughout a whole year by his best friends, and his mental state got really bad that they had to take action and get him out of school.
“As parents, we shouldn’t underestimate this cyberbullying, because it could really affect our children’s mental and physical health,” Wasan added.